Thursday, 7 January 2016

Winter Decor and Happy New Year 2016

Toy bear - Harrods
Stag cushion - Evans Lichfield (Amazon)
Faux sheepskin cushion - John Lewis
Bed linen - Laura Ashley

Faux fur throw - Sainsbury's

One of the lines that stands out most for me from my favourite children's Christmas film of all time - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - is Lucy Pevensey noting that in Narnia it is "always winter, never Christmas. Imagine that". London this Christmas has felt more of the reverse, a perpetual Christmas with a distinct absence of snow or winter weather.

Of course that doesn't necessarily mean putting a halt on any Christmas or winter decor. With the addition of winter whites, faux fur and stags, I went for a Scandinavian theme. 

And finally, a Happy New Year to you reader!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Winter Skincare Routine | Product Reviews 2015

To find products that work for dry, dehydrated, and/or sensitive skin is a task to say the least. This winter in London, with its schizophrenic rain/wind/mild nature, has been typically difficult on my skin  to say the least. Nonetheless, I have continued on in pursuit of a workable winter skincare routine that stops my skin looking tired/dull/red/dry/blotchy throughout the festive season. Here are a few that have helped along the way:

Vitamin E Moisture Cream - if I could live in a warehouse of this stuff I would. The best for medium moisturising coverage for sensitive skin.

Simply Pure Naturally Radiant Eye Cream - gotta tackle those fine lines!

Vitamin E Hydrating Toner - evens out skin tone between cleansing and moisturising.

Simply Pure Hydrating Serum - my discovery of serums this winter has probably saved my skin the most. With thanks to Sali Hughes blog for the mention of the affordable Superdrug skincare brand Simply Pure.

Vitamin E Cream Cleanser - proper cleansing is more essential than I give it credit. Read skincare guru Caroline Hirons blog for why you should irrefutably never resort to makeup wipes:

Thank you for reading and watch this space for another beauty post soon! X

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Winter Snapshots 2015 | 6 Sleeps 'til Christmas

Some Christmas ginger parkin/bread baking; definitely not baked by me, as I bake so rarely that anything I turn out is either rock hard, batter soft or burnt. Also, totally recommended for those with braces (*insert irony here).

Lindt, the best advent calendar in the world (maybe) :)

My attempt at winter home decor. Spot the patriotic Scottish stag cushion; it is reminiscent of Skyfall to my eyes. That and its equally aesthetic majestic masterpiece hare sibling, go some way to assuage my guilt that I have only ever visited Scotland once, despite my ancestry.

And finally, possibly the laziest attempt at a first Christmas tree ever. Yeah...the penguin is actually one of my favourite decorations as it is possibly the most seasonally appropriate of the lot. That and the fact that it is about as close as I'll get to wearing a scarf this month if the weather continues to be as unacceptably spring-like as it is currently.

Finally, a tad splattering of housekeeping; at risk of this becoming a beauty and makeup related space, look out for a winter skincare blog post in the foreseeable future (as in within the forthcoming week and before Christmas Day 2015 is upon us) X

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Makeup Bag 2nd Edition | Review

I've spent so long living with the maxim 'don't half-arse anything' that I'm not sure I could even recognise what that means any more. It's probably why I ended up spending £25 on a makeup bag. A 'designer' makeup bag. My first proper 'adult' makeup bag. Because if you're going to store, transport or use makeup then you should do it properly, right? That, alongside the fact that I've had an obsession with the design of makeup bags since I can remember.

So when I tentatively ordered the Charlotte Tilbury 2nd Edition makeup bag from the John Lewis website (it's online only so don't try finding it among the beauty counters of the department stores) I immediately began to backtrack. Only after I had hit the button did I read the review threads discussing a 'putrid plastic smell', a 'tacky, plastic exterior' and a 'small interior'. I also discovered the fact that the latest (3rd Edition) Charlotte Tilbury makeup bag is out this Christmas.

It was a relief to say the least when the (impenetrably packaged) said bag arrived, sans plastic odour and with enough space for not one but several foundations. With a dainty star shape topped zipper and the message 'Give a woman the right make-up & she can conquer the world' emblazoned on the back, this is a nice medium sized, medium priced makeup bag. Not the sort to sit easy on your cosmetics counter, as it is thin and falls over easily, but I will be using this for years to come.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Other Half of the Story | The Beginning

In order to start this story properly, I have to go back to the beginning. The first beginning. Long before the most memorable day of my life. I was rudely birthed into the world one May in the early 1990s. My mum had chosen a home birth, and I was born in my parents Victorian terrace flat in London. But sometime before that, nine months to quantify it, I lost a chromosome. Or, more accurately, it lost me. I was conceived and born with 45XO, one crucial chromosome having never made it to me during this process. My mum and I joke that it was lost during a particularly strenuous yoga lesson, or on someother such unfortunate occasion.

To get a scientific outlook on the situation, we have to jump forward in time to 2008. I was 16 at the time and sitting in the waiting room of a paediatric endocrinologists clinic. An A level student surrounded by a mass of mewing children, wondering why I hadn't been greeted by 'mother nature', as the Tampax advert so euphemistically puts it. Before I knew it, the most vivid memory in a history of vivid memories performed itself in front of my eyes, in a surreal, outerbody experience way. On 31st October 2008 (I told you it was memorable for me!) I walked into a doctor's office and was told, "well, I've got one half of the story here, and you are the other".

As you can imagine, when I was laughing with my mum over the list of my 'Clare's quirks' to bring to the doctor's, this wasn't quite the answer I had been waiting for. In fact, to tell you the truth, I had been living with my 'quirks' and feelings of alienation for so long that to get an answer in any format was somewhat of an unexpected outcome. You see, it's not that I didn't know deep down that something wasn't right. As a 4 foot 10, socially isolated 16-year-old with dyslexia, I had lived with years of 'wavy line' moments of confusion and anxiety, and was more than aware that I wasn't the Oxford Dictionary definition of 'normal' (is there one?).

That was my reality. My 16-and-a-half years of living undiagnosed with the chromosome condition Turner Syndrome. My life experience up until that point is what I shall claim as 'my half of the story'. The other half of the story sat clenched in my doctor's fist. He held the results of medical tests and notes that revealed the medical side. The short stature, oestrogen deficiency, learning difficulty, flat-chest, low hairline, non-existent ovaries, medical reality of the situation.

I lived with it then, and I live with it now. Because we are more than the sum of our genetics. We are more than medical results. We live with the other side of the story. I did then and I do now choose not to be defined by my genetic condition. I am a human with a destiny and agency of my own. I lived 16 years not labelled or defined by my genetics, just living my side of the story. In some ways that makes the object of diagnosis redundant, except it doesn't. Such a late diagnosis, an experience shared by many TS women, largely down to a lack of medical understanding, can be detrimental to both physical and mental development. And so until that fateful day I was not only 'missing' a vital part of my genetics, but also the salient part of my story.

I may be one chromosome short, but that just makes me human. I am the combination of thousands of genetic variations, flaws and all. Just. Like. You.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.