|Image from Superdrug|
A month or two ago, my friend returned from a trip to South Korea gushing about their beauty habits. Apparently, their nail varnishes last longer and chip less than ours; they understand the importance of skincare and realise that tanning is skin damage; and they use something called Blemish Balm, or BB Cream as it's known, to look flawless while looking after their skin. Well, lucky them.
Straight away, I took to Twitter and asked the beauty bloggerati if they knew of it or whether you could get it here - and judging by the reponses, it was very new on the scene in the UK but word was slowly getting around. I discovered you could get it on eBay but thought I would wait for a few more reviews before buying it.
So what is it? Well, given that it's important enough to have a Wikipedia page, it's pretty special. As said in the text there and as explained to me by my friend, it was developed by a doctor in Germany and started out as something dermatologists used to help their patients heal and protect their skin as well as cover scars, acne and blemishes after laser therapy. It's sometimes tinted so basically acts as a foundation, primer and skin treatment in one. It also can have a whitening effect which is, I'm told, quite big in Asia. So we Brits want to look brown and they want our pasty complexions - are we ever happy?!
Anyway, news got out about this fabulous stuff and it's become far more mainstream - and now, it's here. Everyone I follow on Twitter appears to be trying it, ordering it or just plain raving about it - and I ordered mine from Superdrug last night. I don't wear foundation but I have been hunting for a decent primer, and absolutely swear by wearing an SPF daily (currently using my Avene moisturiser). I can't wait to try it out - though I have to say, SPF 15 is not exactly protection. Hopefully they'll up the SPF when more of them come out...
For before and after pics, check out this blog - thanks @Tsunimee for sharing! Have you used it yet? Does it live up to expectation?
I love the look of false lashes. Dramatic, fluttery, movie-star-esque... but I cannot stand the faff. I am not a faffy girl. I don't do heels, I don't do lipstick, and as much as I love fashion it has to feel good for me to wear it. That's why my love affair with false lashes began and ended at a New Year's Eve party - I felt like I had an irritating feather placed over my eyes and couldn't wait to get them off, yet had to keep re-glueing them to save from 'what's that furry thing on your cheek?' embarrassment throughout the night. Now, I stick to mascara and what dear old (stingy) Mother Nature gave me.
A girl's search for the perfect mascara is a lengthy one. We want them long but thick, separated but plenty of them - our lashes, that is. At the moment I swear by Max Factor's Lash Extension mascara mixed with the Masterpiece Max, but move over Max Factor: there's a new mascara must-have in town.
Benefit, one of my favourite beauty brands, are about to unleash the They're Real! mascara and from the look of some tried and tested posts on beauty blogs such as Lipglossiping and these videos, it's going to be big. It claims to give you lashes that look so good people will think they're fake. The recipe itself curls so you can ditch your scary looking eyelash curler, and it has long and short bristles on the brush so even the tiniest of lashes are reached. It also has bristles on the end of the brush to give extra lift.
Convinced? These babies go on sale from 13th August but they are having a flash sale on Saturday 6th August if you just can't wait - see the flyer below. Happy fluttering, and let me know what you think!
As a 5'10 singleton in London, I've got my work cut out for me when it comes to meeting a man. Well, not men in general obviously, just ones I'd like to date. London is notoriously a difficult place to find love anyway because we're all far too busy running around working stupid hours, commuting on sweaty trains (so sexy, we Londoners) and then moaning about both over much-needed but massively overpriced cocktails (while checking our BlackBerries).
Add on top of that that I can see over the top of most men's heads, and it's near impossible to find someone to date in this silly city of suits. Or even just to find a guy to talk to without being able to check out their bald patches as they speak to my chest.
On the rare occasion that a man attempts to chat me up, the first deal breaker (or of course maker) is height. If he's not taller than me - even by a couple of millimetres, I'm not asking for a giant here - then it's an instant no (in my head - out loud I am far more polite, honest).
A few friends have given me a disapproving lecture for my slightly heightist ways, but given that they are all 5'6 or under and petite size eights (aka pint sized), they really have no idea. And given that they have all said they 'think it's great to be tall, but wouldn't want to be tall', they probably shouldn't be judging.
I'm not saying short men aren't datable - after all, to a shorter girl, a short man is tall, right? They're just not for me. I don't want to feel 'big', in any sense of the word - around the man I fancy I want to feel cute and feminine and like I can depend on him to give me a decent hug, not to be an armrest. I think that's fair...
What are your dating deal breakers and makers, or aren't you fussy? (I mean that in a nice way).
It's been two weeks since I got back from Ibiza, and I still can't get it out of my head. I have a revived obsession for music, I keep bopping away to myself in public places such as on escalators and train stations, and I have a fairly permanent smile on my face despite hating people that do that.
As mentioned previously, I've realised how much I needed this holiday - though this year has been pretty good so far, I'd forgotten what it was like to actually relax and not be near a phone, Internet connection or piece of technology in general. I'm surprised my hands aren't permanently fixed in typing position and that I can still hold a pen.
It usually takes me a couple of days to get into the holiday spirit, but thanks to very sensibly turning off all data on my phone so that the phone bill when I got home didn't give me a heart attack, I switched off - in all senses - as soon as we landed. And then it was time for seven days of laughing, dancing, chatting, sunbathing and face painting...
I'd been to Ibiza three years ago for the first time and as much as I loved the island, I couldn't quite dive into it as much as I wanted thanks to the break up from hell and feeling spaced out from graduation. This time, I was single, happier, and ready to make the most of the gorgeous island (and maybe even practice a little Spanish). Here's how we did it, with a few tips along the way...
Sunday - Space
After just two hours sleep, we got our flight at 5am from Gatwick and touched down just in time for breakfast. We found our Sunshine Apartments in San Antonio Bay (which I would highly recommend - it's under new management who are very professional), threw our bikinis on and headed out for breakfast by the beach. On the beach you will get approached by club reps, trying to sell you tickets for that night. After a few too many interrupting our sunbathing, some girls eventually convinced us that there is nowhere else to be on a Sunday than at Space for their We Love Space night. We did a package which got us 2 hours of all inclusive drinking at Active bar, followed by a bus to Space and entry to the club. We didn't last much past 3am thanks to the lack of sleep but it was a damn good start to the holiday.
Monday - 'Quiet Night'
With a hangover (we made good use of the two hours) and thinking we needed to budget, we decided to have a 'quiet' night. What actually happened is we went to my now favourite bar in Ibiza - Ibiza Rocks - where they drew moustaches on our faces and we discovered they were fairly reasonable for drink prices. We then went on a bit of a bar crawl, including Hed Kandi Bar (just as good as the one here in Clapham, but with Hed Kandi promo girls wearing diamante nipple tassles and not much else), Soul City (a bit messy) and eventually Hush (apparently one of the better West End bars). I always claimed to hate the West End, or Puke Street as I call it, but if you go to the right places you'll be fine. Our quiet night ended with us getting lost and not climbing into bed until about 7am. Brilliant.
Tuesday - Pacha
Tuesday was my best night because we decided to check out Pacha for the first time for their Flower Power night. If you ever go to Ibiza, you have to go to this - it's a retro night with old music that will get you moving (I did the twist!) and everyone dresses as hippies. We hadn't known about the dressing up until the day, so we used my many coloured eyeliners to graffiti ourselves in flowers and general sparkle. Pacha is stunning as a club, but don't drink anything except water - we paid 35 euros for 'a bottle of wine' which was so small we barely got a glass each out of it between two of us. And make sure you check out the terrace - the perfect way to end a night if the sun's coming up.
Wednesday - Ibiza Rocks
After such a high the night before, we didn't think it could get better - but then we got tickets to see Friendly Fires at Ibiza Rocks Hotel. The hotel is the other side of the West End so we started in Amsterdam Bar, because they offered us this: a bottle of champagne, two drinks each of our choice, a huge pitcher of Sex on the Beach, and a shot each all for ten euros. Needless to say, we didn't need a lot more after that. Friendly Fires were amazing; Metronomy and Kissy Sell Out were also on and the crowd was buzzing (or was that just my head?!). We also met up with the guys we'd met at Pacha and carried on to the after party at Ibiza Rocks bar for a very very funny night...
Thursday - Amnesia
After another amazing night, we woke up smiling, laughing at everything that had happened the night before (together with photographic evidence, of course) and planned to have a 'quiet night' again as we were very quickly running out of money. Then my sister, who used to work out there and was texting me constantly to find out where I was so she could live vicariously, text me to say I should go to Cream at Amnesia. There goes the budget. We decided to go and did another deal - this time with drinks at Linekars (not a nice bar, but hey ho) followed by a bus to the iconic club. Be warned you're not allowed cameras in there and will be charged three euros for the privilege of them putting it in a cloakroom-for-cameras. Feeling a little hungover and grumpy, I decided alcohol was the way forward and promptly spent 18 euros on a vodka and lemonade. Followed by another one. And a shot of vodka to add to it. And a shot of Jäger (not my idea) to top it off. Then, I danced. Until around 6am. With flashing heart-shaped glasses on. I really suit Ibiza.
Friday - Sunset Cafes
It was my friend's birthday so after present opening, lunch and sunbathing, we went out for dinner at Mint Lounge which is along the sunset strip. Pete Tong was playing over at Cafe Mambo's and it was a really chilled out evening for the first time that week. Of course, one creepy clown/magician and some indoor fireworks later, we decided to get more wine in Mambo's, then walk home... via Ibiza Rocks Bar. Here we bumped into our Pacha/Friendly Fires friends and ended up on dodgems (best idea ever, well done Lee) where I got a lot of bruises that were 100% worth it for the sheer amount of giggling. For some reason we then ventured back to the West End despite it being about 4am, danced for about five minutes and then walked home. A very random but very fun night that ended with an old man near our apartments showing us his wallet and undoing his trousers before we ran away...
Saturday - Es Paradis
Our final day on the island was bittersweet - we were still having fun but knew it was coming to an end. But, we decided to forget about our overdrafts and have a good night out to say goodbye - with my much loved Hed Kandi. This year, the night is being held at Es Paradis, with a pre-party at Ibiza Rocks Bar - a pretty perfect combination. The Lovely Laura came down on a giant glittery moon (as you do) which we were almost directly under, and the night really kicked off. Sparklers were being handed around, promo girls were rolling around in roller boots and it was exactly what you'd want for a final night out.
Covered in glitter still, we went straight from the club to our apartments, grabbed our bags and went to the airport. I won't bore you with how exhausted I was but let's just say I completely missed take off because I started snoozing the moment I sat down - and every time I came to I thought we were still on the ground. But it was so worth it - my body clock was ruined for a good week or so but I also have a lot more energy because I had so much fun and feel happier than ever. We're already planning on going back for a cheeky weekend before the end of the summer...
- I used this Ibiza party calendar to plan some nights out before we went - check what's on and see what prices you can expect to pay.
- For a week, I changed £350 up into euros and it wasn't enough for all the above, despite cooking at the apartments and having cheap lunches. I would take around £450 for a good time, £400 for a good time on a budget.
- Don't be scammed by reps - make sure you know who they're working for
- Say yes to everything... no matter how hungover you are, or how broke you are, you don't want to miss out - it's an amazing island and you should get as much out of it as possible! You'll be amazed at how much energy you can have when you're enjoying yourself.
OK, so it's been a while. My plan of writing more while also living more wasn't so well thought out since, well, both take time. Well done me. But, while the inspiration for this post is the reason I've been so slack on the blogging front lately, it's also given me plenty of ideas, hastily scribbled on anything nearby - so prepare for a few posts coming your way.
Lately, I have been putting myself first (and the site second, evidently). For the past few years I thought that that was what I was doing; surely, that's what you do when you're single, right? But throwing yourself into work, doing the sensible thing because the scary thing is downright terrifying and being the responsible one in the family isn't, as it turns out, the same as being a little selfish. I'm not saying I've been a cow, as my thirteen year old self would say - I've just been doing a little more of what I want and learning how to make decisions that cheer me up.
So it probably wasn't the sensible thing to spend a further £200 that I do not have on Spanish Level 2 - but I get so much out of it, that I did it without even a moment's hesitation. Oops. And yes there is a pile of washing-up downstairs that requires my attention (they are yet to invent the dishwasher that loads itself, apparently), but I've realised I had come to resent Saturdays because I spent the majority of the precious free hours cleaning, so it now comes second to whatever I want to do. I can still be a Monica, but it fits in around my fun time.
I've also realised that despite work commitments and the ever decreasing bank balance (or should that be ever increasing overdraft fees?), holidays are necessary. Holidays make the world go round. Taking time out is so underrated, particularly when moaning about the packing and organising that goes into it - but after my recent best-holiday-I've-ever-had-ever holiday in Ibiza (post upcoming), I've been so much happier, more positive and just feeling pretty damn good about life.
Of course I am now back and missing it like crazy, but I also have hundreds of great memories that keep me going. In those party-filled seven days, I felt more like myself than I had in years; I took risks (good ones), danced all night every night, fell in love with music again, fell in love with the island again and had enough girl talk to last a lifetime (though there is always room for more).
So, 2011 is still going strong... and there's plenty more fun to be had. What about you - how do you make sure you put yourself first every once in a while?