20 Weird And Wonderful Facts About Me

weird facts about me

Me, me, with a side of me. I deliberated the title of this post for quite some time. Let’s be honest – who really wants to know facts about me? I’m pretty boring…and quite clearly a little narcissistic, but I wanted to get a little personal this week. I’ve been thinking about an expansion of the blog into more lifestyle content, but in order to do that you’ll need to understand a little more about me. So without delay, here’s a few fun facts that will make you both chuckle and question my integrity as a human being….

  1. I hate being told what to do – Being told what to do or being told that I’m expected to do something is one of my biggest pet peeves of life. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a an over-bearing control freak. If it’s not my idea, or I can’t pretend it is – I’m not interested.
  2. I don’t like chocolate – Considering that I’ve spent the last 9 years of my life running a chocolate fondue hire company, it’s pretty shocking that I’m not a fan of chocolate. In fact – I’m not a fan of sweet things at all. I’ll have a bite every now and then, but in my world it’s all about the salty!
  3. I’m a boy’s girl – There are girl’s girls, tomboys and somewhere in between – I’m that in between. I love girlie things and everything that’s associated with being a woman, but truth be told I get along better with guys than with girls. Not my fault really; I’ve been raised in a family full of boys. In fact, my Dad would often call me ‘son’ growing up and once you get to know me, you’ll realise I have the habits of a guy and not afraid to show them. Although I’m a girlie girl at heart, you’ll often find me with the boys rather than the women – we just have more to talk about!
  4. Although I’m a spring baby, winter is my favourite time of the year – Christmas to be specific, because I’m a complete crimbo freak! I do like a BIT of heat, but nothing feels nicer than a cozy evening, in front of the fire, whilst it’s bitter outside. There is, of course, the comfort of covering up in cozy layers and Uggs, but that’s just a bonus.
  5. My biggest fear in life is not feeling accomplished – When I get to the finish line of life, I DO NOT want to look back and wish I did more. Travelling, education, experiences – these are all things that I want to achieve whilst I still can. My biggest goal would have to be travel. How sad would it be to get to an age where you can no longer travel, but wish you had seen more of the world?! There’s more to this world than just the bubble that we create for ourselves so I plan to see as much of it as possible. I have a map of the world in my Filofax that I often refer to when booking my holiday destinations. Once a place has been visited, I cross it off the map and note how much of the world I have seen.
  6. Speaking of travelling; I went backpacking along the east coast of Africa for 5 months – When I was young, stupid and unaware of the joys of a 5 star hotel. I took time out between my first and second year of university to travel along the east coast of Africa, completely on my own, with no previous experience of travel other than with my family. Now that I look back on it; I can’t believe I had the balls to do it, but 10 years on and it’s still one of the best experiences of my life! I experienced foreign cultures, met people from all corners of the earth, travelled down the Nile in what can only be described as a plank of wood, climbed Mount Sinai (with great difficulty), saw places that I wouldn’t ordinarily visit and got a taste of teaching in a foreign school.
  7. I can’t iron – I haven’t quite added that to my list of life goals, mostly because my husband does my ironing for me. My Mum is completely disgusted by that fact, but it works well for me!
  8. I love trash tv – Life and work can get pretty stressful so when I come home I want nothing more than to turn on the telly to some rubbish, reality-based, trash tv which requires zero thinking power. I watch the news all day long and spend hours calculating figures so sue me if I want a little ‘brain coma’ time! My brother often mocks me by saying that I wish I was a Kardashian with my own reality show…he’s not wrong…
  9. I’m not flexible at all – I can’t cross my legs and I can’t do a rolly polly – two very fundamental skills of life. I’m literally as stiff as an ironing board.
  10. I love cooking and learning new dishes – I might be pretty shit at ironing, but I’m a dab hand in the kitchen. I can pull off a 5 course meal for 100 people without breaking a sweat, but don’t expect any Indian dishes from me. In fact, my speciality is Greek food. I make a mean Spanakopita
  11. I may have the biggest voice in the room, but I’m pretty shy and actually enjoy my own company – probably because I’ve grown up on my own. My brothers are a whole decade older than me so I spent a big portion of my childhood playing on my own. Don’t break out the violins, I actually prefer it that way. I’m a pretty private person and only have a few good people in my circle. However, I’m a complete contradiction of myself. In social situations, I’m usually the one who initiates the conversation and gets in the mix of things. I’m pretty sarcastic too and love a good banter, but when I’m not in the mood I’m a complete lone wolf.
  12. I have a phobia of ketchup and baked beans – I don’t know why, I really don’t, but the smell, look, feel and even the mere sight of them make me heave. Much to the delight of my loved ones, I freak out if either of them come near me. I realise it’s weird, but I think we’re past that point now…
  13. I have curly toes – Imagine spider legs; that’s what my toes look like. I’ve had the piss taken out of me my whole life. I honestly believe it’s a bit of a problem now, because at the end of the day I’m craving for a toe massage. Yup – that statement got weirder with every word. It’s kinda like my toes cling on to dear life in my shoes. Don’t worry…I’m one sentence away from taking the piss out of myself.
  14. I have OCD, but it should be called EOCD (Extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) – I’m VERY particular about the way I live and the things around me. I like a clean, organised environment, but everything from my furniture to my toothbrush has been carefully selected. I’m obsessed with details so if it’s not perfect (in my eyes) it’s not good enough.
  15. I love being different – Another one of my pet peeves is being ‘common’. This probably ties in with my initial point about being told what to do. I like to stand out, however narcissistic that makes me sound. I’m just not a ‘crowd’ kinda girl.
  16. I’m obsessed with middle eastern culture – From the food, to the music, to the language. After my travels through Egypt (see no.6) I became obsessed with middle Eastern culture. So much so that I learnt to belly dance and cook a fair number of middle eastern dishes. Not forgetting my ‘learning to speak Arabic’ stage in life. In fact, I know more about middle eastern culture than I do of my own!
  17. I wake up early no matter what day of the week – We all know that I’m an early riser. In fact, I dedicated a whole blog post to my love of early morning starts. Even on a Sunday morning, with a dirty hangover – you can find me potting around at 6am. I just love the serenity of an early morning.
  18. I’m a tech geek – With a degree in Computer Engineering, I’m pretty nifty around a computer. In fact, I created my entire blog and all the artwork myself despite the fact that I had no previous knowledge of WordPress!
  19. I played with Barbies till I was 16 – I love Barbie and would still play with them if I didn’t share a room with my husband.
  20. I’m allergic to most fruit – Probably just an excuse, but fruit just doesn’t seem to agree with me. Particularly apples, they seem to leave me itching all over. Pizza on the other hand is my best friend.

 

The Definitive Guide To Makeup Expiration

makeup expiration

Who knew that those tiny little jars on the back of makeup products are actually called PAO (Period After Opening). Well I didn’t but I do know that, like many women, I take no notice of makeup shelf-life dates.

As shameful as it is to admit, I find it hard to let go of my makeup. Rather than a hoarder, I like to refer to myself as a devotee. I’m ride or die for my makeup; which makes it extremely hard to purge when things edge on the side of funky.

There are a few cardinal rules when handling makeup to ensure that shelf life is at its maximum potential. These include:

  • Washing your hands before direct contact with the product
  • Refrain from sharing makeup with others
  • Keeping products in a dry area, away from direct sunlight
  • Ensure lids are placed on firmly, particularly in makeup bags where bacteria can breed.

Keeping my makeup clean has never really been much of a problem for me as I’m quite meticulous about…well…everything. What I do find difficult is determining when it’s time to let go. There are, of course, a few tale tell signs of when a product is on its way out, for example:

  • Change of smell
  • Obvious exposure to heat
  • Colour/textural change
  • Evident mould

While generic guidelines advise an approximation of shelf life, I find some of them unrealistic for people who don’t have an unlimited budget for makeup. Cosmetic experts suggest 3 months for mascara, 6 months for liquid foundations, 1 year for lipsticks and so on. Whilst using ‘healthy’ products on your face is important, I couldn’t imagine throwing away a tube of mascara after 3 months before I’ve scraped out every last fibre.

Why can’t cosmetic companies make it easier on our poor, makeup-loving souls?! Personally speaking, I would appreciate a simple expiration date or even a date of manufacture. That way, we would have a clear indication of when our favourite lippie needs a ceremonial goodbye rather than having to scramble our brain on which date you cracked open the packaging.

I recently discovered a fantastic site called Cosmetics Calculator; which has answered all of my expiration-date questions. The site supports a long list of brands; which are all detailed at the bottom of their landing page. Entering, into the calculator, the brand and batch code; which are easily located on the packaging of most makeup products, allows for the calculator to determine when the product was made. The user-friendly website scours its database to find the exact manufacturing date so you can make an informed decision on its usability. Pretty cool right? In fact, this baby has been a God-send during my big fat makeup spring cleaning session…also known as ‘the day angels fell from the sky’. I’ve also discovered The Cosmetics Wizard; which edges on the exact same idea, but focuses more on skincare brands (particularly in the UK). Now if you’re really OCD, like me, you could look up the dates upon purchase of your beauty product and add a nifty little label of your own on the packaging with an exact expiration date. That wouldn’t make you pathetic…I promise!

What are you waiting for? Get ready to purge girls! After all, you can’t buy more makeup without a little more room in your  storage!

Paradise In A Bottle | Hei Poa Pure Tahiti Monoï Oil

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We all know that when the heat turns up, so does our mood. A good old dose of vitamin D can bring upon a little more cheer and an elevated mood; which is why we look forward to the summer months all year round. Although I’m more of an autumn girl, there are certain aspects of the summer which I throughly enjoy. Fruity cocktails, open toes, family BBQs and the scent of something tropical. I, of course, can achieve that with a tall glass of pina colada (and preferably a handsome waiter to go with it), but I also like to incorporate a little paradise into my beauty routine.

Multi-purpose oils have been an inclusion in my beauty regime for many many years. From my hair to my nails – I use beauty oils on a daily basis no matter the weather. Scented oils are my particular favourite; which is why I squealed for joy when I discovered the Hei Poa range. Their core product, Pure Tahiti Monoï Oil in various scents, encompass everything you could ever imagine from a tropical scented oil.

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Derived from the French Polynesia, Monoï oil has been a hidden gem of the tropics for over 40 years. Naturally fallen coconuts are pressed to produce unrefined oil; which is then infused with the natural essence of Tiare Flowers (Tahitian Gardenias). This is then brewed for several months before bottling up and shipped to our shores. Sounds like something from a Sandals advert doesn’t it? Well not only does it smell INCREDIBLE, Monoï oil is also very moisturising, nourishing and holds many restorative properties for our skin, hair and nails.

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In natural ‘Reena-fashion’, I tried a sample of this beautiful oil from a friend and quickly proceeded with an online order for 6 bottles. However, the difficult part about that was choosing the fragrance. Hei Poa stock 11 variations of this magical elixir, each with their own individual appeal. Some are recognisable by name, but others, such as the Tamanu oil, require a bit of reading up. I settled on the Tamanu oil for its anti-ageing properties (preventative measures of course), Frangipani because I thought it had something to do with almonds (it doesn’t and yes I’m really that stupid) and the 1,000 Flowers  because…well…why wouldn’t you?! I, of course, bought two of each in case the world decides to end and I had no more access to the internet…

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With coconut oil being the core ingredient, it was no surprise to see that the oils solidify in colder temperatures. This is easily overcome by placing the bottles in a jug of warm water before use. The mixture then turns to a beautifully silky oil, with no sticky residue. This is particularly useful in the summer months, when feeling sticky is the least of your desires. What the oil does leave behind is a lingering smell which can only be described as heaven in a bottle.

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Apart from basting my chicken with it (no that’s not a euphemism), I use this oil for pretty much everything. I love how easily it absorbs into my skin and hair ; which is something I rarely find apart from with dry oils. My favourite use is right out of the shower, whilst my skin is still damp to lock in the moisture and retain that heavenly scent. My skin is left feeling supple with a beautiful ethereal glow and a scent that would make even the flowers turn their heads.

Now here comes the negatives – it’s not that easy to source in the UK and the glass bottle will annoy each and every bone in your body. It’s not a game changer as such, but the glass bottle is a real shit design element. I mean, why pick glass?! If I want to travel with this oil and use it in a tropical destination (as it should be used), I can’t. If I drop the bottle, I’m screwed. In fact, the bottle’s only use is to sit pretty on my vanity table with no true purpose to the product. Of course, sourcing this oil is a bigger point to cover. Amazon, naturally, have all scents in stock for the RRP. I bought mine from Sanareva.co.uk who stock pretty much all of the Hei Poa products. Most listings that I have found are priced between £8-£9; which I’m more than happy to pay for the amount of product that you get.

If you’re on the lookout for a new summer scent, why not put down the perfume bottle and invest £8 in a bottle of this tropical elixir – I promise you will never smell better!

The Dos And Don’ts Of Baking

baking

Whether you love or loathe her, Kim Kardashian West has paved the way to many of the great makeup techniques that we know and love today. One very famous example of this was her social media revelation of how she keeps her makeup in place without a smudging in place.

‘Baking’ is a technique used to apply excessive powder to areas which are prone to creasing/fading throughout the day. Originated from the entertainment industry, drag queens would use this technique to keep their makeup in place under extreme lighting.

I must admit, ‘baking’ isn’t necessarily a technique I use on a daily basis, but on occassion I do dabble in some light ‘baking’ to makeup sure my makeup stays in place when my behaviour isn’t!

One thing that I do find off-putting about ‘baking’ is that it tends to further dry-out my already parched eye area and can often leave the rest of my face looking swallow and dull. However, I have found a few small tricks to eliminate the ‘cake-face’ look that I normally get when I bake.

Hydrate under the eyes – This would appear like an obvious statement to some, but many women opt out of using eye cream during the day. I personally cannot live without it, but I’m particularly pre-cautious when doing a full on glam look. Hydrating around your eye socket before applying your concealer and powder will ensure that the makeup doesn’t ‘cling-on’ to dry skin.

Setting powders are also designed to soak up excessive moisture. Therefore, the skin around your eyes tends to feel dry and tight. Applying a gel-based eye primer, like the Clarins Eye Contour Gel, will ensure that your peepers stay fresh and moisturised without feeling too heavy with product.

Use a damp sponge – I used to apply my setting powder with a brush, until I discovered the technique of using a damp cosmetic sponge – I’ve never looked back. Applying your setting powder with a damp sponge will ensure a higher concentration of coverage along with a more precise application. Getting into those tiny corners of your face or achieving a sharp and defined line under your contour is far easier with a sponge. The damp element of your sponge will also ensure that you’re adding moisture back into your skin. I tend to use the same sponge to ‘pat-out’ my concealer before applying the powder. I don’t go heavy with the powder. A light dab into the pot will pick enough more than enough product than you actually need.

Don’t let it sit for too long – One of the biggest mistakes you can make when ‘baking’ your face is allowing it to sit for too long. I can’t tell you the amount of ‘white cast’ photos I have of myself where I’ve allowed my setting powder to sit for too long therefore creating a ‘ghostly’ shadow underneath my eyes. Unfortunately it happens to the best of us, but I’ve now learnt to not allow my setting powder to sit around. KKW and her famous makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic advise for your setting powder to sit around for 10-15 minutes before brushing it away. I, personally, don’t have time for that nor do I care to wait for that long. I’m not particularly fond of lengthy makeup routines, but I also feel that allowing a powder to sit for that long opens up the door to ‘cake-face’; which is never a good look. I let my powder ‘cook’ for no longer than 2-3 minutes. It’s more than enough time to set your base makeup without having to feel like you’re plastering your face.

Use a slightly tinted powder – Whilst many believe that using a translucent powder is the way forward when it comes to baking, I’ve actually found that using a slightly tinted powder gives me a much better finish to my skin. My skin tone calls for a yellow-based powder to counter-act the dark circles that I’m burdened with. If you have a fairer skin tone then using a pink-based powder may work out better. I love the Sacha Buttercup Powder for its brightening effects without making my skin look ashy. I then finish off my under eyes with a dusting of Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light for a natural brightening effect that melts into the rest of my face.

Spritz with a facial spray – Although spritzing your face wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the matte effect under your eyes, a good facial spray will ensure that the rest of your face (baked or not) is free from any excessive powder. This is particularly important when trying to avoid the ‘cake-face’ look. Facial sprays don’t need to be fancy; even a spritz of water will do the trick. Facial sprays will also ensure that your makeup is ‘locked’ into your skin which kinda works well with the purpose of ‘baking’.

What are your ‘baking’ tricks? Comment below with some that I could try out.

 

This Month’s Obsessions | May 2017

monthly favourites

Not only does OCD take over the way I conduct my life, but it also gets involved in my likes and dislikes. I have an obsessive personality; which means I can get pretty attached, real quick. When I like something, I LOVE it. I have no concept of quantity or control (in all aspects of my life); which would work pretty damn well if I was obsessed with working out. Unfortunately, I’m not…BUT…I am obsessed with my monthly favourites.

If you’re a YouTube fanatic, like me, you will have seen an array of monthly favourites videos – a round up of what they’ve been loving the past month and why. I’ve decided to let you into my monthly favourites in this week’s blog post. Some are great, others a little whacky, but these are genuinely what I’ve been loving in the month of May.

Tangle Teezer Blow-Styling Smoothing Tool (Full Size) £20.00

I’ve been using Tangle Teezers for as long as I can remember. My hair is very heavy, very long and can often get very knotted. Tangle Teezers have thus far been the only tool that I can use on my hair to detangle without ripping out half of it out. My sister in law had recommended the Blow-Styling Smoothing Tool as a great alternative to the traditional Compact Styler; which in all honesty isn’t large enough for my hair. I use this brush for everything (mostly because I love paddle brushes). Detangling, straightening, and in particular, when I’m blow-drying my hair. It cuts my blow-drying time in half; which usually feels like several hours and it works great at separating the hair when I’m straightening. The wide-set plastic teeth allow for air to flow freely when blowdrying and it actually works pretty great at smoothing away fly aways. There’s a half-size available for those with shorter hair, but if you have thin hair you may find this brush a little harsh and clunky against the scalp.

NASA Live Stream YouTube ChannelsSpace & Universe and Space Videos

O-M-G why have I not discovered this before?! I’m obsessed with Astronomy and as you can imagine, the obsession is real. There’s something about the unknown wonder of space that gets my inquisitive mind going; which is why I squealed with joy when I discovered the YouTube channels Space & Universe and Space Videos. Both equally as amazing as the other and both offer live streams of Earth from the International Space Station (provided by NASA). To say that I’m obsessed is truly an understatement. I watch it morning, noon and night. In fact – I find it quite soothing and incredibly addictive to watch (particularly when my anxiety is through the roof).

Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer £20.00

I spoke about this gel-based eye pencil in a previous blog post and raved about its long-lasting power. I won’t go into too much detail as you can read all about it in the post, but my God is this eyeliner amazing. I totally forgot I had it until I saw its shiny silver lid poking out of my makeup bag one glorious day. It doesn’t irritate my eyes (I’m a contact lens wearer), nor does it fade through out the day. There’s no need for sharpening and it glides on like butter. It literally is the best eye pencil I’ve ever used.

VITASIA Chai Latte (Approx 69p)

I LOVE chai lattes. In fact, it’s my beverage of choice upon every trip to Starbucks. During the summer months I often swap out my traditional chai latte for an iced version. For obvious reasons, of course, but I find it so refreshing. A recent shopping trip to Lidl saw the discovery of the VITASIA Chai Lattes in the chilled beverage section. A little sweeter than what I’m used to, but this stuff is so addictive (not to mention a whole lot cheaper than my usual Starbucks Venti). I’ve been diluting mine with a little more milk and a ton of ice for my very own iced coffee cooler. Probably not the healthiest habit to have, but it’s stopped me from making a trip to Starbucks every day.

Original Source Mint & Tea Tree Shower £1.20

When the weather gets a little warmer, I swap out my usual choice of candy-scented shower gel for something with a little zest. For that, I turn to notes of mint and tea-tree. I’ve tried many brands, but nothing beats the old classic which is Original Source’s Mint & Tea Tree Shower. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and it gives me that ‘pep in my step’ to start my day.

Audible (Subscription-based £7.99/pm)

After the big 31 I made a promise to myself that I was going to make more time for reading. Truth be told, I don’t have any time to read. I’m not one for giving into modern-day technology, but after discovering Audible, I found the best of both worlds. For a mere £7.99 I can download an audio book directly from my Amazon account and incorporate it into my every day life. I listen to it while I’m driving, while I’m getting ready and even while I’m cooking. In fact – I get to incorporate ‘reading’ into my normal day-to-day activities without having to actually read. Sounds a defeatist, but it’s the best way I’ve found at keeping up with literature. What’s even better is that Audible is offering a free 30-day trial to get your started. I’m totally loving The Crystal Therapy: Learn the Various Types of Crytals and Gemstones and Their Healing Benefits by Nathan Goldsmith at the moment.

Hawaiian Tropic Body Mist £7.50

I’ve been forever obsessed with the Victoria Secret Body Mists, however, I discovered that the brand Hawaiian Tropics had released their own range of tropical scents and I knew I had to get my hands on them. Imagine an island surrounded by coconuts – that’s basically what these smell like. They last a hell of a lot longer on the skin than the Victoria Secret ones do and they actually work out a little cheaper. They’re a little big in size so they don’t fit that easily into your handbag, but they are a good ‘everyday’ spritz before you head out the door. My favourite by far has been the Golden Paradise scent.