Monthly Round-up June

Style

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Find this in a pile of the Bloke’s old clothes and ‘adopted it’.

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I finally found two dresses, that hide my pizza handles; are a practical but un-frumpy length (at least for me) and aren’t too prom-dressy. Both from EMP.

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When you can’t be arsed hiding your natural resting bitch face, ha! This Casual Urban Summer outfit felt surprisingly cool (before the heatwave) and also worked well with gladiator sandals for casual evenings.

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I’ve been trying to find sunglasses like these very old ones but haven’t been having much luck, as I guess they are very early-2000’s in style. I’m also learning how to take selfies with a point and shoot camera…I need more practice.

Food and Drink

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Someone gave us an Aloe plant about a year ago and this is the first time that I used it in a drink. It tastes so bitter but if you only use half a finger, somehow that tartness goes away when you mix it with anything sweet, like perfectly ripe strawberries.

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The Bloke has bringing me veggie koftas by Gosh from the ‘posh’ Tesco in Didsbury. I don’t always have enough energy to make and fry my own falafel or to get to the deli before they close so these are a great alternative and last for ages in the fridge.

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We bought some chilli seeds around two months ago and now we have this lovely gangly thing. In the morning it raises it’s leaves and then bends toward the sun in an arch throughout the day. Just after sundown, it lowers it’s leaves again and stays still. I’ve just pollinated it, with it’s own flowers but I can’t see any yellow pollen so I have no idea if it worked and we will get chilli’s.

Beauty

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Hempz, Herbal range are some of the best products I’ve ever used to style my crazy, frizzy natural hair so they were a joy to review.

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These three are the most borrow-able items in my blokes bathroom and they smell great too so I thought I’d review them in Pinching My Blokes Skincare.

Lifestyle

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I was offered a free star map from Modern Map Art and chose to get one done for my Dad for Fathers Day. Here’s my review if you want to know more.

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I found this, which made me laugh as it was so appropriate at the time ^_^

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I’ve nearly finished series 5 of Gotham. It has it’s usual gangster slant and a new intelligent baddy for young Bruce. They’ve added more of a horror element this series and also the violence is less comic book and just plain graphic. I’m not a big fan of either of the above. Poison Ivy and Butch aren’t pictured here, probably for good reason, so as not to spoil the surprise of how they look.

I made this using the Geek Alphabet created by The Nifty Nerd. Such a great idea!

Chrissie

Hair Styling Essentials from Hemp

Finding beauty products that aren’t animal tested is fairly easy these days but finding cruelty free hair styling products – especially one’s which work on natural, coarse, wavy hair – is almost impossible.

So I was thrilled to get a chance to try some of Hempz Herbal hair styling range, which include nourishing hemp seed oil and also smell so good, that if they were a cocktail, I’d be ordering three of it.

Instant Dry Shampoo

This changed my hair from greasy, split mess to fairytale-like tresses. I just spray it on (with no powder residue) and gently brush my hair through with a paddle brush with thick plastic bristles. My hair looks clean and shiny and smells of pineapples!

Rating 5/5

Workable Hairspray Medium Hold

I have a love hate relationship with hairspray; I love that it holds my wild hair in place but hate that it makes  tangled mess when I try to brush it out. Hempz hairspray is tough on holding a style but fairly easy to brush out and leaves hair feeling soft and looking shiny. Then there’s that uplifting pineapple scent again, so you don’t even have to leave the room for a moment, after you’ve used it. I wouldn’t say this could hold a large volume of hair in a gravity-defying style but then it is only supposed to be ‘medium hold’.

Rating 5/5

Flexible Styling Sculpt

My fringe is a cartoonishly-big, frizzy canopy when freshly washed but using this made having a fringe enjoyable, rather than a chore for the first time, ever! I can absent mindedly shove it into a quiff off my face if the weather is too hot and then just spread it out again into smooth waves when I want. If I want a glam look, I can sweep it into a low side parting and it just stays there, looking effortless. It’s also useful as a curl cream if there are unruly strands that hair oil cannot shape and tame. Just for example: Here is my hair before I’ve oiled it, with the front strand covered in Flexible Styling Sculpt and gently twisted.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

The Body Shop, Drops of Glow Lustre Finish Creator – Illuminating

The Body Shop, really?

I avoided the brand for years when it got purchased by animal testing L’Oreal but now it’s been bought by Natura Cosmeticos (the largest beauty producer in Brazil) I’ve started to tentativley buy from them again. Natura Cosmeticos use natural ingredients that are cruelty-free (as are their finished products) and sustainably sourced. They also pledge to now reduce the carbon footprint of their brands and stores and do not sell to China.

The Body Shop, Drops of Glow Lustre Finish Creator – Illuminating (£12, 15ml)

I wanted an illuminating product that could be worn under foundation and patted over it as a subtle highlight on cheekbones and collar bone. I use a medium-full coverage ELF foundation because it’s one of the few foundations that actually matches my skin tone and stays put. Unfortunately, it also makes my skin look totally matte so I thought this would be perfect to give it a lift.

Without foundation

Gives a very sweaty gym bunny look – next!

Under foundation

Gives my matte foundation and new lease of life. I looked glowy and healthy, even when I applied powder. Unfortunately I had to apply bronzing because my face was radiating so much white light, it looked too pale and also like I was sickly and sort of clammy.

Unfortunately this is just too pinky/cool for my skin tone. If I used too much, I could easily be heading down the yellow brick road into Tin Man territory. But pale girls could totally carry this off for an ethereal look, I’m sure.

Durabilty wasn’t great. I noticed that after around three hours of hot, humid weather, my amazing wear-proof foundation was gathering in my pores, in my (ahem) lines and literally sliding off my face.

Under foundation

As a highlighter on cheek bones, nose and chin

This is a winner when applied sparingly, as it’s sheeny and glowy, rather than obviously sparkly. You can build it up though to have more impact and it stayed on in the club. I didn’t expect that!

Over all 

I get that The Body Shop has these ‘drops’ to mix with your foundation to make it lighter or darker or for a strobing effect but I think the names of these products are a little OTT; as if the longer the tittle – the better the product. This one is a liquid highlighter basically. I like the glass bottle and pipette as you can apply directly to face or sponge with no mess. Sadly, it just wasn’t versatile enough for me.

Rating 3.5/5

❤ Chrissie ❤

 

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Is B. Pure Micellar Water Any Good?

In the past I’ve used my fair share of toners that stripped my skin of any natural oils or gentler one’s which didn’t remove any dirt. Cleansers that efficiently removed dirt and makeup but needed to be thoroughly rinsed off. A pain in the arse at 2.00am when my tired ass needs to get to bed.

I now have a bottle of B. Pure Micellar Water and cotton pads on my bedside table; this way I can melt away dirt, makeup and balance my skin, in bed! I can then apply a night moisturiser or just leave my skin to breathe. When I wake up my skin isn’t paper dry or flushed and sensitive.

My only problem is that when I applied it in the morning and didn’t moisturise (I thought the oil in the micellar water would be enough and wasn’t planning on wearing foundation) my skin felt slightly tacky for hours. I ended up applying a light moisturiser anyway in order to fix the feeling.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Melts away all traces of dirt and makeup
  • Refreshes and balances
  • Soothes

Cons

  • Oddly tacky
  • Doesn’t mean you can skip moisturiser

Chrissie

Murad Essential-C Day Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30

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Murad Essential-C Day Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (£60 50ml) combines, vitamin C for radiance and firmness, antioxidants to shield skin from environmental damage and  sun protection against UVA and UVB rays.

If you are anything like me, you might have cringed, just reading £60 never mind spending it. Here’s why I did a) My skin needs all of the technical and biological help it can get b) I ALWAYS forget to wear suncream on my face c) When I do remember to apply some generic one that’s around the house, my makeup slides off within the hour d) As I’ve hit my mid-thirties my skin has become a lot dryer to the point where it makes the best foundation look like cement on application.

Pro’s

  • Non greasy
  • Doesn’t have an obvious suncream scent
  • Makes skin look naturally radiant, even under medium-thick coverage foundation
  • Keeps skin moisturised all day
  • A little goes a long way

Con’s

  • If I’m going to pay £60 I either want more product or a fabulous looking jar
  • Too heavy for oily or combination skin
  • Not an all-in-one product. You’ll need to use a separate primer after this if you want your makeup to last in a hot club/at the gym etc.

Note:

For the golden skinned or the old-school tan lovers out there, please don’t be put off by SPF 30. If you are out in the sun for hours your skin will noticeably thank you for protecting it (especially as you age) and SPF does not mean total sun block so you will still tan, even on days with light cloud.

Chrissie

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

What is it?

Don’t let the very specific tittle put you off, Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (£35 200ml) gives your skin a helping hand with cell turnover and hydration to reveal smoother, more radiant skin.

How does it work?

It uses gentle Salicylic acid (BHA), Lactic and Glycolic acids (AHA’s) to dissolve dead skin cells. AHAs are water soluble and do not penetrate very deep into the skin of the person, while BHAs are oil soluble and often do penetrate much deeper into the skin, even past the oil barrier of the face. AHAs are good for eliminating dead skin cells on the surface that are caused by sun damage. The oil solubility of BHAs make it better suited for clearing up clogged pores deep in the skin, so that they can be removed.

Jojoba beads are also used to exfoliate and to boost hydration.

My skin type

I have high maintenance and very indecisive skin. Flakey, dry and oily. I seem to have a very quick cell turnover but the cells just build up (because they stick to the natural oils) instead of shedding to reveal the new skin underneath. Basically, I’d make a terrible snake. I also have a collagen disorder thanks to Hypermobilty Syndrome which means I have less collagen in some places but more in others, thanks to acne scarring in my teens and 20’s. As a result, my cheeks have ended up with a very dimpled, orange peel effect going on. Gimme the Pollyfiller, now!

Verdict

This is one of the most effective cleansers I’ve ever used. The beads are natural so no damage to the environment and are incredibly fine so a little bit really does make a big difference. I’ve been using this three times a week as my skin really needs it. I wouldn’t say I have very sensitive skin but it can go red easily when massaged too much using harsh cleansers and soap. Even though this contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate it is still very gentle and does not irritate my skin or strip it’s natural oil barrier.

My skin feels incredibly soft and looks surprisingly smoother and more radiant. It also means that my serum and moisturiser can actually sink into my pores now and foundation just glides on without looking dry or dull. I’m actually not bothering with my medium-full coverage foundation as much, even on nights out.

Honestly, after four weeks of using this, I looked in the mirror and did a little happy dance!

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Monthly Roundup – Feb & March

FEB

I’m going to start off with ‘Our Day’ as we call it because it’s around Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t HAVE to be on that exact date. We went to our favourite Asian vegetarian restaurant for traditional dishes, contemporary dishes and as many of the amazing mock meats we could fit!

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For Autumn and Winer and lets face it, most of spring in the UK I’ve taken to wearing JJH – Jumper, jeans and heels. For warmer days I pick a light knit with a wide neck, looser boot cut jeans and strappy heels. For colder days a chunky oversize knit, skinny jeans and high heeled ankle boots.

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After a busy afternoon or a night out at a gig, I’d be pretty useless the next day. I was being defeated by simple things like opening bottles, getting dressed and combing my hair, and also saying sentences which went around in circles without any point because I was really brain fogged as well as fatigued and utterly uncoordinated. So I sat down and kind of forced myself to think of 10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body. The post got so many positive responses, from gentle encouragement to people saying they totally empathised and I’d made them feel better.

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I have to confess, in the 80’s I loved bumbags or fannypacks (for peeps in the US). Now the trend has been recycled into the more fashion friendly ‘belt bags’. So here are 12 Belt Bags for Spring.

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I also blogged 10 No Nonsense Life Lessons as it’s taken me a while to figure some of them out and I wished I’d have know all of them in teens and twenties.

Me and the Bloke celebrated Shrove…Pancake Day this year and made some rather substantial pancakes by adding too much flower – oops! We have them in the traditional neutral/savoury way, with lots of sugar and lemon.

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I always get flabby over winter from over eating and hibernating but I figured while the weather is cool I should get my butt moving now, before the weather gets too hot in Spring/Summer. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although those shiny nylon type of leggings act like cellophane (saran wrap) and do a lot of the work aesthetically!

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MARCH

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What a top night! The supporting band was Afro Cluster (reminds me of a retro hair product) who’s sound I’d describe as funky jazz hip-hop with a fantastic MC. Charles obviously knows his Northern Soul, trad soul and funk as he’s been doing this for over a decade now but I loved that he threw in three of Stevie Wonders funkiest tunes. Band On The Wall were lovely when it came to reserving me a banquette (as part of their disability accommodations) so I didn’t have any anxiety over standing in pain or passing out with heat fatigue.

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It snowed!!! Yes, as you can tell, I love snow. This is my view from the living room window. Rather Narnia-esque isn’t it? ^_^

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I’ve finally found a dairy-free chocolate and nut spread which tastes like Nutella, better actually! Here’s my review of Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter.

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Now the weather is getting milder (utterly indecisive) for Spring, I’m moving toward my trusty 90’s grunge look as the layering is so practical, plus, it’s more socially acceptable than going out in PJ’s.

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Eeeh, pie! For too long it has been a case of No woman, No pie, so for British Pie Week we accepted an invite to Pieminister on Church Street – which is quickly becoming my fave city centre street. I chose Wild Shroom pie; mushroom and asparagus in a creamy white wine sauce and the Bloke chose Saag Pie-neer; pea, paneer cheese, potato, chilli and mango, both with mash spud and gravy, of course (£7 for one).

The pies were amazing, pastry not too flakey, not too stodgy, with perfectly balanced flavours. I loved the mash but the Bloke thought it a little over-worked. He liked the gravy and I thought it would go perfectly with any pie on the menu but, for me, it didn’t taste savoury enough. Pieminister also offer three gluten free options but it depends were you go for your pie (pub, cafe, restaurant) as they aren’t available everywhere.

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It would seem that I’m going grey early, or rather, gold. My nearly black hair has been getting lighter and lighter, as have my pale green eyes, which are now a golden-amber shade. So does that mean I’m going to be a golden oldie? Haha! Sorry.

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I was sent this Hempz body moisturiser which has the scent of banana, which is just heavenly! It contains pure hemp seed oil, an absolute saviour for dehydrated, under nourished skin. It also contain Shea butter and ginseng to sooth skin (I used it after shaving my legs and it didn’t irritate them) and vitamins A, E and C to protect against environmental damage.

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We are growing a chilli plant, well it was three chilli plants but we killed the other two somehow. I was going to give it a name but the Bloke advised me not to get too attached, going off the overall survival rate.

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These Violife dairy free (and vegan) cheese slices taste like Kraft Cheese Slices but better. I’ve been melting them onto nachos in the microwave for 40 seconds for very melted on with salt and pepper or 20 seconds which is like that sweet, gooey, cinema cheese.

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I decided to check out Peacocks, a brand I used to love in my 20’s. They’ve gotten even better. I bought, beautiful lingerie, an initial cup, an initial makeup bag, a rose gold (and very sturdy) charging lead, and the most blinging hand-warmers and beanie I’ve ever seen. Everything I bought is well made, well fitting, reasonable priced, not to mention, very pretty!

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For anyone who is too old or just too damn cool for an easter egg, I did a little post of Dairy-free Chocoalte Treats for Easter.

Chrissie

Monthly Round Up – January

I’ve not posted that much this month, mainly because January is a bit bloody meh. I’ve only been averaging three hours of daylight with me being a night person, so not exactly motivating…Well, motivating me to turn on the TV and order takeaway!

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At the start of Jan I compiled a post of quirky motivational quotes – one for each day of the month. Some of my own making and other unclaimed one’s that I’d seen pop up on social media several times.

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I lost one of my snowflake earrings my Ma bought me (totally gutted) but found these beautiful one’s on Etsy by Pretty By Susan Jewellery. They were wrapped with such care, like a little gift.

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My only beauty review this month was Human + Kind Dry Hair Conditioner. What a wonderful start to the new year for my hair!

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I cannot justify spending money on tiny plastic unicorns, especially when I can’t tell which one I’m going to get as they are in blind boxes. Toki Doki notebooks on the other hand… ^_^

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I’ve slowly gotten into the habit of just accepting myself in piccies, rather than asking “Do my eyes look expressive/big/kind enough? Is my smile even?” Yes, I do have exquisite ‘resting bitch face’ and the photo often looks like it should be a meme captioned with a sarcastic ‘Yeah, right.’ or ‘As if.’ but it’s my face and I like me, so I guess I should like my face too – unintentionally disdainful expressions and all.

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I’ve been searching for some glam black heals with a bit (ok a lot) of sparkle for months. They were all either too high, too narrow, too slip on or too open toed. Then I found these in a wide fit and in the sale at New Look. I incorporated them into a sports-luxe outfit, with black straight-leg pants with a sporty beige side stripe, a velvet look rose-gold strappy top, black cotton cardigan, a metalic cross-body handbag and big hoop earrings. See bellow…

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To celebrate being together for just under a decade – but not sharing one tiny abode, which would drive us both nuts – me and the bloke went out for a meal. With lots of fun things planned in the next five months and having no money tree or generous genie tucked away, we decided to use up some vouchers to do what we’ve always both loved doing together; indulging in delicious dough, cheese and chocolate cake at Pizza Express.

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I decided to vicariously collect some urban apparel by putting together 12 Street Style Hoodies, all of which I’d wear myself and all of which are fairly affordable from the high street.

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More ‘Funny’ but Very Earnest Things I Said and Did as an A-typical Kid. If you have a sec and want a giggle and/or think you might identify with this.

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I made a fantastic peppercorn sauce by mistake! I combined 4 tspn dairy-free cheese sauce powder with 300ml almond milk, a teaspoon of nutritional yeast, salt and a lot of pepper.

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At this point in my life I’ve decided, unless my accessories are literally attached to me, then I can’t be responsible for not loosing them. I keep my handbag under my coat when walking through the city at night and love how versatile, cute and practical cross-body handbags bags are, so I selected 16 of the best.

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To help my conscience and the condition of my skin, I decided to try Zads vegan takeaway in Chorlton. I really want to say it was fantastic. It was not. For every positive, I found there was a negative (in my opinion) so fair-to-middlin I s’pose. If you live in the South Manchester area, please check out my review of Zads, then order something from them yourself and see what you think.

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 16.49.43It’s happened again, I do a thing on Polyvore and the glossy magazines copy me. SMH. I think I’d faint in those trousers though.

Chrissie

Human + Kind, Dry Hair Conditioner

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I highly recommend using Human and Kind Dry Hair Conditioner (£7.50) if your hair is dry, damaged, coloured, coarse/natural in texture. My hair is all of the above and my lazy curls looked so much healthier and more defined afterward.

Active ingredients

  • Shea butter
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil
  • Lupine Seed Extract
  • Orange oil
  • Aloe Vera

Free from

  • Parabens
  • SLS
  • Petro-chemicals

I will also be using this to co-wash my hair on days when it’s not greasy and just needs some added oils and moisture and a natural cleanse.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie