The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

An older couple Jack and Mabel move to a homestead in 1920’s Alaska to find a better quality of life. Mabel quietly longs for the child she lost years before and prefers the isolation of their cabin, rather than socialising at first.

On a rather unusual evening they have fun throwing snowballs and building a snow girl together. After that, each catch a glimpse through the trees of a little girl with a fox.

This is a wonderful book about how people come into each other’s lives, sometimes at the perfect moment. Ivey’s vivid descriptions of the bleak, yet awesome Alaskan countryside and the hard work it takes to survive in this environment really drew me in.

****SPOILER ALERT****

In the entire book there is only a very short and vague sentence which actually ties fact and fairytale together; when Mabel says that Faina surely would have died in the cold had we not built our snow girl at that very same moment, and now Faina is here with us.

The best I have been able to decide is that she is a human who was about to die but through the couples wish to have a child, she was saved and bestowed by nature with powers to thrive in the freezing weather and to control it but also a kind of curse relating to it as well.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

Spring Cleaning my Beauty Cupboard

Seeing as it’s the first day of Spring and International Happyness Day, I decided to do something positive and have a product Spring clean. Sorting through your skincare and makeup stash was one of my tips in my post 6 Simple Beauty Tips Which Make a Big Difference what a good day to follow my own advice, ha!

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This was all of the skincare products I owned and as you can see they are pretty much all over the place, with face, body and hair, old stuff and new stuff all mixed up. After going through everything this is what I learned…

  1. I had so much oil! I could easily just use the same one for my hair and body and a lighter one for my face.
  2. Out of all of those products I only had one face moisturiser.
  3. I found products that had changed consistency or were nearly empty and all of those were expired.
  4. I still had tanning oil from my twenties! o_O
  5. I buy face masks because they are on offer in pound shops and NEVER use them.
  6. I thought I needed to stock up on miceller water and cooling eye gel as I was running low but then realised I’d originally bought them in two’s to save on postage.
  7. I had a stupid amount of body butter.
  8. I’ve rediscovered cruelty free beauty brands I’d totally forgotten about!
  9. I had bits and bobs from various razors and waxing kits that I stopped using ages ago.

I’ve reduced the above to a single crate and the cute wicker basket. The rest is either in the recycling, the bin or my dressing table so I actually remember to use it daily.

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Here is all of my makeup, apart from what I’ve thrown out and repeats of the same thing and yeah, it’s still a lot!

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Here’s what I’ve thrown out.

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A slightly smaller pile, heehee.

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Here’s my main big-ass makeup case, my daily makeup case and my travel/wash bag with miniatures and samples in. Here’s what I’ve learned…

  1. Even though I treat my makeup fairly well, there were still spillages and products that felt sticky – eeew.
  2. If it’s really broken, through the damn thing away! You are not Stig Of The Dump or a Womble.
  3. If it doesn’t suit your skin tone or texture and it can’t easily be mixed with something else, then throw it away or swap it/give it to someone.
  4. There are lots of reasons why buying two of the same thing can be a good idea but hoarding the same type of product, or buying several before you’ve even tried if the product works for you is not a good idea.
  5. How many golden-brown eyeshadows and copper-brown toned lip products can one person reasonably own!? Five eyeshadows and eight lip products it would seem ;0)
  6. I still have products I bought before I went totally cruelty free. That was TEN years ago!

As you can see, I still have the big makeup bag but now my little ‘everyday makeup bag’ includes the best of my base, mascara, tools, contouring kit (I missed out the wonderful Pixi contour kit in the first photo) and three eyeshadows and eyelinners that I rotate on a monthly basis. This means that everything is easy to keep track of/clean/sharpened, quickly to hand, and I don’t forget to use all of the lovely colours I own.

I hope this helps! Let me know if it has or if you also do some of the bad habits I’ve mentioned.

<3Chrissie<3

 

 

 

 

J-Pillow for Sleepy Upright People

Even with chronic fatigue I still struggle to sleep upright. This is why I decided to review J-Pillow (£19.95 Amazon), a pillow which is supposed to support your head and neck in the correct position so you don’t put any strain on your spine.

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It’s a bit clumsy so I’m glad it comes in a travel bag and also has a little loop to hang up. There is a reason I’ve orientated the pillow this way as it looks reminiscent of something else (just me?) when stood upright.

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This one is a lovely blue-teal colour (described as ‘Navy’ also available in Red and Fern Green) and it feels so plush! It comes with an instruction leaflet with photographs, which I was glad about. It also has a handy loop with press-stud to fasten around a bag or case.

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When sitting in a normal chair at home (one suggested use in the leaflet), the pillow only works with a high-backed chair and is only good good for a light doze. If I were to nod off properly, my head and the pillow would start sliding off to the side.

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The main idea of the J-pillow is that when travelling, you squish the pillow between your head, the back of the seat and the window. I’ve found this works perfectly because I fell asleep!

When using a basic neck support when my head dropped forward I’d drool a bit (classy) and when my head was leaning back I’d start snoring (even classier). Because of the front support here, my head is kept upright so neither of these things happen.

Chrissie

Gluten and Dairy Free Crisps from Aldi

I think I’ve found the Holy Grail of crisps for people with dairy and gluten intolerance!

Wait, what actually is a food intolerance?

Food intolerances, although not as dangerous as some allergies, can have a very real and detrimental affect on daily life. Sometimes causing severe bloating/water retention, facial redness, shortness of breath, bad skin, serious gut pain, bowel problems and fatigue. As a result of the body seeing this food as alien, it not only raises histamines (very stressful for our immune system) but the body doesn’t absorb much goodness from the food so vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common.

Can’t you just avoid cheese, milk, pasta and bread then?

This is exactly what I thought at first, until I discovered that Lactose (a milk sugar) and Gluten (a grain protein) are often used in flavourings to bulk them out and to get them to stick to the snack. I’ve honestly been in so many supermarkets where I couldn’t buy ANY crisps or flavoured rice cakes or popcorn, not even trusty Salt & Vinegar flavour sometimes because of either Lactose or Gluten in the flavouring. The big bags of ‘posh crisps’ tend to be a little better I’ve noticed but they are so dear!

So do they taste any good?

All of these flavours taste unique and wonderful. Ranging from sweet but spicy Serrano Chilli & Yucatán Honey along with Tomatillo Salsa, to the spicy, smokey but slightly sharper Chipotle and Lime, to traditional Sea Salt and Black Pepper and the more unusual, zingy Sea Salt and Lime. My fave surprisingly.

Any other good stuff?

Both ranges are pleasantly affordable and the textures are crunchy but not too hard, a lot like handmade tortilla chips you would get in a hipster bar.

The Specially Selected range contain 2.5% seeds, including Golden Linseed, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Linseed and Millet. The Tortillas With Spirit are made from Whole White Corn and Green Lentils.

Nom, nom…

A big handful of these dipped into hummus, chunky salsa or dairy free yoghurt are so filling and energy giving that I’ve been having them for lunch (on slower days) rather than just as a snack. Also, very nice crushed and sprinkled over salad for extra protein and texture.

🖤Chrissie🖤

6 Simple Beauty Tips Which Make a Big Difference

 

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How to stop eyelashes clumping or looking spiky

If you have medium-to long eyelashes that are fairly straight, don’t use a mascara with added fibres or a thick formula. Curl and separate your lashes, then use a mascara which glides on easily and brush straight up (no wiggling from side-to-side). Apply no more than three coats and let them dry in between.

How to keep track of the makeup & skincare you own

So most skincare and makeup will have a little picture of a jar with a number on saying how many months your product will last for once opened but who can remember when they actually opened it? I write it on a little piece of paper and stick it on the jar with clear tape. I store everything in a wide, open basket with 3 smaller basket inserts to separate everyday skincare from pampering skincare and replacements (which I’ve stocked up on before the first product runs) so I can see everything I have with one glance.

For makeup I have an everyday-makeup pouch and a huge vinyl makeup bag, divided into sections which I store my going-out-makeup in. Again it’s easy to see what I have so I don’t keep buying the same stuff by mistake every few months! I store my makeup brushes in a sparkly pencil case because I’m allergic to dust so I can’t have them sitting about in the open, even though they are pretty pastel unicorn ones.

The order you should use your everyday skincare in

Get the most out of your products by knowing which order to apply them in so they compliment, rather than block each other.

Exfoliate: My skin is not great at goodbyes and likes to cling onto old skin, rather than letting it invisibly float off over the day like it should. To give it some help I use a gentle Glycolic Acid to weaken the bonds between dead skin and new skin. I have a weaker treatment that I can leave on and a stronger one which I leave on for ten minutes and then gently wipe off with a face cloth and then rinse my face. I found that no matter how many face scrubs I tried with the gentlest, tiniest granules my face would become bright red and my skin still didn’t feel smooth.

Serum then Moisturiser: Now skin is able to absorb the lovely things you are giving it. I use Hyloronic acid (which sucks in moisture like a sponge), swiftly followed by a light moisturiser. If you just use hyloronic acid on it’s own in a dry attmosphere, without using moisturiser after, there is a chance it can pull moisture from the deeper layers of your skin up to the suffice. You want to keep that moisture where it is and help it absorb MORE moisture.

Facial Oil: Sometimes there is a difference between dehydrated and dry. I can apply moisturiser and sometimes my skin sucks it up immediately or sometimes it just sits there but either-way, my skin still feels a little dry and looks dull, like matte paper. This is when I realise it needs oil. Another clue is when you’ve moisturised but your skin gets oily in the afternoon or evening. It new it was dry and wildly over compensated – oops! I tend to apply a light layer of oil all over my face – even around my T-zone (sounds crazy but give it a go) and on my collar bone – because that just looks nice!

Layering makeup and textures to get the best look for your skin

I’ve found you can have too much of a good thing – such as similar textures – and prefer to strike a balance by using a mattifying moisturiser with a lightweight foundation or a lightweight moisturiser and then a mattyfying foundation. Applying all mattes and powders or all liquids and shine can look OTT, in both directions so to avoid this, I love liquid highlighters and cream blush with matte foundation. Alternatively, a powder highlighter and blush when I’m using a very light BB cream or foundation to help it stay put. I’ve tried the Korean ‘glass’ skincare look and it did look amazing…For around 60 minutes before the makeup slid off and the shine – so much shine – stayed with a vengeance. I really do think that layering combinations of textures can give the most realistic, long wearing and flattering look.

Get ideas from makeup tutorials but never ignore your own eye/lip/face shape.

If I follow the usual Western eye shadow looks, all my eye makeup disappears into the folds of my eyes and I have giant highlighted brow bones. If I use ones for hooded eyes, then my eyes look rounder and you can see the eyeshadow but it doesn’t look like me and I think it’s actually playing down one of my best features! Now I follow normal smokey eye tutorials but I just extend the makeup up AND out, making sure to highlight where my inner corners curve inward to compliment the natural cat like shape.

If I applied blusher all over the apples of my cheeks I would look like a scary doll, no matter how subtly I applied it. I tend not to bring it inward too much and sweep it up and outward instead.

If I applied contour directly under my crazily-high cheek bones it would make the rest of my face beneath look way too long. I tend to lower it ever-so-slightly and then blend it out the lower down it gets.

Essentially, get all of the tips and ideas you want from others but do what works for YOUR face, after all, you know it best.

Give your skin the chance to do stuff for it’s self

I’m sure everyone has been in that vicious circle of using products that are too harsh and strip your skin – then your skin produces oil to try and balance i’s self – so you use tonner or cleanser and it dries out for a while and then the oil starts again. You should aim for balancing your skin, correcting it (gently) only if it really needs it. If you keep throwing all of these products at your face how will it know when it needs to act and how to regulate it’s self? It’s best to try and stick to a routine (ironically difficult for a beauty blogger who reviews everything) and every six months just to let it be for several days so it acts naturally and then possibly reassess what it needs.

Perfect example: My lips have always lacked natural oils and look dry and even cracked on a regular basis. Turns out it’s a reaction to allergies and central heating. As a kid I was slicked in thick lip balm; as a teen in kiwi lip balm from The Body Shop; in my twenties in Lancome Juicy Tubes lip gloss; in my thirties I’m using natural oils such as Almond and Hemp. The problem steadily got worse and worse however, until my bloke said “Stop using lip stuff so much. Try to anticipate when they might need it so you apply it before they are dry, otherwise let your skin sort it’s self out.” That was so difficult for a lip product obsessive like me. So I accepted looking like the walking dead and after five days it actually worked! My lips where naturally smoother and looked plump and hydrated.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts and any tips you’ve discovered yourself!

Chrissie

Essential Style Basics for Winter to Early Spring

These are from my fave high street shops Peacocks, budget friendly but always modern and stylish.

The earrings. I’ve added a bit of everyday sparkle to dull weather days by using the hoops in my lobes and the studs going up the sides. How cute are those little bows.

The bandeau top/bra. I’ll be wearing this as a cute modesty panel with low cut dresses or sheer tops when the evenings get milder.

The brush. The plastic paddle type are the only brushes that tame my hair and make it shine. Important as I can’t keep washing it and letting it air dry into its natural waves in the winter. My bloke saw this flat side up (looking just like a paddle) and thought Agent Provocateur or Anne Summers must have a unicorn theme running!

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The shawl. I’ve wanted a warm black shawl forever and was so pleased to find this in the sale at Matalan.  This is encompassing and dramatically swishy enough, as shawl go.

Clint Eastwood, the goth years.

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It’s so soft and I love the length. An excuse to wear a comfort blanket that also covers your rude bits when wearing leggings.

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The longline cardigan. This one from Evans actually buttons up – no ‘waterfall’ nonsense here. They start at size 14 and as I’m a 12 and wanted anough room to wear this as a cardigan -dress (I’ve started a thing) and found this to be just right. I love the neckline and the overall length, so I can wear a pretty vest underneath, tights and heeled boots if I want to dress it up. Look at that snuggly sleeve length! Oh, and it also has pockets that your phone won’t fall out of.

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The boots from Lands End for Debenhams. My old brown Ugg type boots have sagged and make me look like Shazza the basic-bitch hobbit. So I replaced them with these pale grey, structured ones with sleek black soles. They keep feet warm with a short-pile fluffy lining throughout but let ankles and calves get some air with a fabric outer.

 

 Which of my Winter – Spring basics do you like?

🖤Chrissie🖤

 

 

Weleda ‘Nature’s Collection’ A Beauty Calendar with a Difference

I wanted an advent calendar that was beauty (rather than chocolate) based and wanted natural skincare items that I would make my skin and wellbeing that little bit better everyday. With that in mind, the first brand that I thought of was Weleda and luckily they had produced one but one that was a little different!

Nature’s Collection calendar £34.95 consists of 12 doors, each containing a different product but you start it on Christmas day. It’s designed to brighten the dullest mornings and complexions through to the 5th of January.

I’ve always found that part of the year to be a tad odd and I can’t tell you how many New Years I’ve started with either a hangover, a tad of uncertainty or both so I thought this was a lovely idea.

About the designer

‘Throughout the year, Emma Britton, decorative glass designer, has captured the essence of ‘The Field’, our Weleda Garden in Derbyshire, and the place where it all starts – the journey from seed to skin. As a pattern designer Emma sees things in everyday life others might miss and she is inspired by floral beauty in both countryside and garden.’

**SPOILER ALERT**

I opened three doors ahead of time for the purpose of this review and because I was feeling pretty bit low the first few days of it going dark by 3.00pm!

If you are buying this as a Christmas present for a lucky someone, you can see the full list of products in the description on the Weleda website.

Chrissie

 

October & November Round-up

I’ve been a bit of a nomad these past few months going between home, my blokes flat and his Dads. No wonder I haven’t been sleeping, my body doesn’t know where ‘my own bed’ actually is anymore! Here is a two month round-up for you.

October (a fair bit)

I reviewed this Maleficent tee which I bought from Pop In A Box who sell Funko Pops! but also other alternative pop-culture things.

I was lucky enough to get gifted some products from my one of my fave natural brands Yaoh to review. Total skin saviours in the crazy changing Autumn weather.

With Halloween coming up I put together a Modern Witchy OOTD. I’ve found that this style of dress is perfect if you want something over-the-knee and strappy but have a bit of belly as they emphasise the right curves and hide the ‘I’ve eaten way too much pizza’ kind. I also love this style of boot because they look stylish, don’t cut across legs mid-calf (which is never flattering) and the heel is low and chunky enough to support a wobbly wench like me.

It was my blogs 6th birthday! I’m so glad that I’ve stuck with this particular blog for six whole years and that you’ve all stuck with me too. Thank you so much!

Dyspraxia Awareness Week (7th-13th Oct) celebrated 30 years. For any posts I’ve written relating to Dyspraxia just type the word into the search bar on the lower right side of this blog.

I reviewed Ciate Dewy Stix in Gleam Gold and had mixed feelings about it.

I bought some seasonal and creepy-cute pins from Little Lefty Lou and Em & Sprout (the cat I’d previously bought from Punky Pins and it tends to spin around upside-down unfortunately).

I put together 6 Simple Autumn Style Essentials as we all want to be stylish and warm!

For Halloween I also treated myself to these pre-loved Monster High dolls from ebay which were about a quarter of the price they would have been new. One is a punky vampire and the other is a goth looking ghost. #stylegoals

I reviewed Ciate polish in Paradise Lost – part of their Gelology collection as it’s perfect for Autumn and the upcoming party season.

I compiled a list of Spooky TV Shows to Binge Watch – old and new.

I was so happy to be gifted these beautiful Moonstone rings from Gemstone Silver Jewellery to give my thoughts on.

I bought the oversized bat-wing jumper from Boohoo and lived in reviewed it. Why I look like the actor Ron Perlman in this particular photograph I don’t know.

November (not so much)

My hair was very happy that I reviewed this Shampoo and Conditioner from Yaoh but I begged to differ at one point!

10 Cozy Ideas for Autumn & Winter. I love doing posts like this each year as it makes me feel all cozy and optimistic for the months ahead.

I was gifted an Exercise (resistance) Band by Care Co. and had a lot of fun and some mishaps reviewing it.

When Hunkemoller asked my to choose something from their range of PJ’s and loungewear range I knew I wanted these velour joggers immediately. Here’s what I thought of them.

I thought it only fair to share My Autumn and Winter Skin and Hair Saviours with everyone.

I’d say this photo pretty much sums up my October and November lol

Chrissie

Athleisure Style Joggers from Hunkemoller

When you spend a lot of time chilling in doors, you want to wear something cozy but you don’t want to greet people when wearing washed out cartoon PJ’s from a decade ago. You know you need a serious (grown) up-grade. This is where Hunkemoller comes in handy as they offer pretty and practical pyjamas and lounge-wear.

How cute is this box ^_^

Look at my gorgeous new joggers! With a silky tie at the waste, sparkly sporty stripes down the gently tapered legs and a rich burgundy colour, I invited people around just to show them off – not kidding. They are also warm and pretty enough to go outside in, if you don’t have the time (or simply can’t be bothered, let’s be honest) to get changed.

They are made of a velour type material which I love because a) They are bunny soft b) They have some substance about them so they don’t end up getting baggy knees after a day of wear and c) They look sumptuous, especially in burgundy.

These are a ‘Small’ and although I agree with that as far as the waste band goes, I think they could have been a little more fitted around the top and the back. I’m glad I have slightly thick thighs and a lot of junk in the ole’ trunk, put it that way! To be fair, they are one of the few tapered pants I can wear that don’t feel like they are cutting off the circulation in my ankles and the length is perfect for my 5’8″ height. I’d say overall Hunkemoller sizing is generous.

If you could treat yourself to a lounge-wear/pyjama upgrade for the winter, what item would you choose?

Chrissie

10 Ideas for a Cozy Autumn & Winter

  1. Treating yourself to a new scarf, hat or gloves
  2. Hot chocolate or spiced tea/coffee in a big mug, which you can wrap both hands around
  3. A stroll around a big indoor artisan food or craft fair
  4. Fairy lights decorating a room, before and after Christmas
  5. A candle or perfume with a comforting fragrance
  6. Extra blankets and big cushions on the settee/bed to make a nest from
  7. A thick novel or biography which really engages you
  8. Donating food/clothes to projects and charities for people who are especially vulnerable around this time of year
  9. Big, hearty homemade stews or pies
  10. Having the heating automatically turn on for a while, just before you get out of bed

Chrissie