Wednesday, May 13

First Book Buys of 2015.

These are in fact the first books I bought this calendar year. I only just got around to putting up the photos. Because I am me.

Since starting a new job in February, I've found it quite hard to balance work and, well, anything. Let alone reading for fun. Given the choice, I usually elect to sleep. And I still find myself absolutely shattered at the end of the day and week. It's something I'm still adjusting to. Adjusting to adulting. I made a video not too long ago listing out all the books I planned to read this year. And realistically, many of those titles probably won't get read this year. Even with my hols (am I officially British or what) coming up a week from today (*dancing lady emoji*).

I picked these two up on a chilly January afternoon at the HMV in Liverpool One. I'm not one to do book shopping in HMV--but I recall there being a surprisingly good post-Christmas selection and discount on. I am a little bummed that I didn't realise Crash also comes in this cover, which I prefer. But maybe I can deface this one with annotations and treat myself one day to a pristine copy of the other.

Yep, I'm jetting off to La Carihuela next week for a no-internet (involuntary) beach getaway. I've never been to Spain, and I don't speak a lick of Spanish so should be delightful. Then a week after getting back from vacation I AM MOVING HOUSE. Well, moving flats. Fingers crossed that nothing falls through between now and then but the general jist is that I am very excited to really decorate this place as my own. And I'm itching to document that as much as I can here on the blog.

Saturday, April 11

On my mind.

I've had some pretty big postsbig concept posts, I guessrattling around a while in my brain. But I haven't worked out how to articulate some of these ideas. So instead I thought I'd steal some beautiful Instagrams from my Posts You've Liked feed (credited with click thru and below ofc) and do a little mind dump.

  • I'm not gonna let myself buy from Amazon anymore.

  • Kristen Stewart's birthday was this week. I still have a weird thing for Kristen Stewart.

  • I have no desire to watch films anymore. Old or new. I went to film school. This concerns me. But only when I allow myself to think about it.

  • I want to read Outlander so I can watch sexy Scottish men on telly.

  • Where can I buy clothes that aren't made in a sweatshop or from sketchily obtained raw materials? Is it People Tree, Kuyichi, and charity shops for the rest of my life?
  • I want to live more sustainably. This blog is really great.
    • I've gone off hormonal birth control but I've heard mixed things about the Temperature Monitoring Method. I'd like to not contribute to killing the planet with latex consumption but, knowing me, I'd fuck up the temperature tracking, and then boom, surprise, PREGGO!
    • My mom is gonna be really pissed if I stop using toothpaste with fluoride in.
      • I need to take better care of my teeth. If I don't watch out, they're gonna all fall out of my head and then I'm gonna have to invest in dentures.
    • Cloth pads. Can I do this? For makeup removal & skincareprobably. For periodsehhhhhm that's gonna be stepping out of my comfort zone for sure. But a step I feel I should try. (I'm not into the Moon Cup thing.)

  • I want to shift to only buying from companies that require their suppliers to not test any raw material they sell on animals, not just the ingredients sold for cosmetics. This is going to take a lot of effort and emailing, ugh. Can companies just not be sneaky, that would be great. So far, I have LUSH and maybe Lord & Berry.
    • This is going to be a long road.

Have you been thinking about any of these things? What's on your mind?

Photos:  1   2   3   4

Saturday, April 4

Porthcurno, September 2014, analogue, dark.

For my trip with Ross to Cornwall last autumn, I bought two shitty disposable cameras from Boots for us to take along. That way we could have a Ross-cam and an M-cam to look back on when we returned home to London.

The above depicts alternating swigs from a local brew of Cornish cider. This stuff was strong. After an ill-fated attempt to stroll (trek) through the middle of nowhere to get to the nearest town (completely my fault for overestimating my actual enjoyment of three-hour-long walks), we happened upon a tiny farm selling some bits and bobs to passersby. The jug of cider was cheaper than the bottled water. So logic says buy it to sip while you wait for a taxi to carry you back to your cottage.

Fun fact about Marion: she hates to cook! She loves to eat. But patience for taking the time to prepare food? Nope. Lucky for me, Ross is pretty much a Scouse Jamie Oliver. I mean, he can even put together a beautiful plate of nibbles, bless him. Oh, and by the way, I'm coming around to olives. They have their days.

The porthole window in the bedroom looked over a stretch of fields that at sunset reminded me of something Richard might have stuck in Submarine.

I loved the little cottage we found. It was essentially living on a remote cliffside overlooking the ocean for four days. And with no wifi and limited 3G coverage, it really was a break from reality (well, a break from frequent Instagram refreshing for me). So we played house, I finished The Goldfinch, we listened to classical music on the radio, we climbed down to the sandy beach, spied on the neighbour's dog. And not having a car heightened this 'slow' life all the more.

As you can gather from these photos, we by no means mastered the art of the analogue camera. Over 50% developed wayyyy too dark so more liberal use of that flash you think serves no purpose is in order for our next holiday. Brighter shots coming next.

Tuesday, March 24

The cruelty-free deodorant dilemma.

Raise your arms, take a sniff, today we gon' talk 'bout yo pits. Deodorant can be one of the most challenging products to replace with a cruelty-free alternative. Today I'm breaking down four that I've tried, letting you know which ones worked for me.

JASON Lavender Deodorant Roll-On  £4.99
This was the first cruelty-free deodorant I trialled. And well, it ticked all the horror boxes that you hear about cruelty-free deodorants. It did diddly-squat. I read online that it can take up to two weeks of regular use for your body to adjust to a new deodorant. Four weeks came and went with the consistent result being my sweat smelling worse than without using DO at all. Perhaps this just didn't mix well with my body chemistry.

+ //  No Alcohol or Aluminum Chlorohydrate, No Propylene Glycol, No Mineral Oil, Petrolatum or Waxes, No 
       Animal By-Products, No Animal Testing, No Synthetic Fragrances.
- //  did not prevent odor or perspiration, and possibly made me smell worse

Odorex Extra Dry Lotion  €4.09
Sanne introduced me to this stuff as the 'event-saver' deodorant. You put it on at least two nights in advance of a party/a date/accepting your lifetime achievement award, and this will keep your armpits dry as the Sahara. It seemed too good to be true but when I gave it a whirl, this stuff legit shut down moisture production of my underarms. And that is a feat because I am a sweaty betty. And as a result, no smell!

The name of the product is misleading or at least lost in translation. It's nothing like a lotion or cream--more akin to face toner consistency. I apply a couple drops to a cotton pad and dab it on my underarms at night. I imagine there are some pretty severe chemicals in there that make this so effective so sensitive skin peeps should venture with caution.

I haven't verified if this company is cruelty-free but its parent company doesn't bode well. Royal Sanders doesn't just produce skincare but over-the-counter medications too. Pharmaceuticals in the EU don't face the same animal testing ban as cosmetics. So until I reach out to this company, I won't repurchase from this brand. Not like it is easy to repurchase anyway--it's a Dutch brand exlcusively available in the Netherlands!

+ //  Eradicates sweat and odor, good for events
- //  Suspect parent company tests due to its other products; likely too harsh for daily use; burns like the fiery 
      pits of hell if you put on too soon after shaving

If there's a runner up, it's this number by Bulldog. I picked this up in Boots (but now they don't seem to be carrying it anymore, frustrating). I'm not crazy about the brand's gender marketing. Maybe that explains why it stopped working for me after a little over a month of use. Maybe it only makes boys less stinky? Maybe it found out I am a girl.

+ //  Leaping Bunny & British Vegetarian Society certified, suitable for vegans; I liked the 'manly' scent
- //  Effectiveness wore off after one month of use; gendered branding

in Vanilla Grapefruit  £10

Winner winner chicken dinner. I've been using Lavanila since December and it's the best I've tried. And it's in the solid stick form (god bless America) which I prefer. I got mine at Sephora where they still cost an arm and a leg. But they do last forever. I may not wear my makeup everyday but D-O for da B-O is a staple.

I've never bought these in the UK but I saw them selling on Net-a-Porter so when I run out of my stash I'll go there. Once or twice, when I am a particular nervous Nelly, I can start to smell the deodorant but that tells me it is working overtime.

+ //  Free of aluminum and parabens, natural; 
       lasts forever; inoffensive scent
- //  Careful putting on black clothes after 
       application lest you streak yoself

I'm pretty happy to stick with Lavanila for the time being but do let me know in the comments if you've come across a holy grail cruelty-free deodorant. My mom swears by those crystal things but they look kind of messy to me.