Glossybox Review – March 2016

I am going to be honest my heart totally sunk at this months box and it was probably the most disappointed I have been to receive one for a while, was it all bad? Well let’s see…

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So first up…

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417Catharsis Vitamin Mineral Shampoo and Conditioner

Lets start with a positive, I really appreciate the fact the seem to have listened and started sending these in travel size rather than sample size, and also that they send both shampoo and conditioner rather than one or the other. I did give this a good go using both the shampoo and conditioner in place of my normal ones for a fortnight, sadly for my hair this just did not do anything. At a price tag of £16.89 each for the full size I feel there are lots better products on the market for much less. On paper it does seem like it should be a great product but for my bleached/colour damaged hair it just did not do the job and I was happy to swap back to my usual Tresemme and using the Naobay hair mask.

Next up…

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Olay Regenerist Luminous Skin Tone Perfecting Cream

I have tried a few Olay products and they really do not work for my skin. The first couple of days it was fine and seemed like this might actually work but then I started getting spots in the more greasy parts of my skin. While it would be possible to use this in conjunction with a second product I prefer creams which I can use all over without having to mess about and at £29.99 the price tag is too high for something which I need to double up with something else.

As you can see so far not a very good start, next up…

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Hey Honey Good Morning Honey Silk Facial Serum

sometimes the problem is even when you like a product you already have things which are similar or you prefer and this is one of those products. I like serums and have a few, I do really like the finish this one gives you which is more or what can only be described as a waxy finish rather than an oily one, sadly not very good for under make up. It is not a miracle cream it does not make all my wrinkles disappear but it does give my face a nice healthy glow so I will use it up on days where I don’t need to wear make up. At £28.81 for full price it is on the more pricey side and I would probably not buy it again however I will use this one up unlike some others I have received previously.

Things are still not looking good in this box so one to the next…

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So Susan Light Diffuser

I like So Susan products generally and usually they come in the most fabulous packaging so given how pretty the box is you can imagine my disappointment to find this inside…

DSC01747Not good, but just as they say you should not judge a book by the cover I have some very pretty make up products which I do not like so I opened it up and tried it…

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I do actually really like this, I like the shades, the contour shade is not so dark that you have to worry about looking like an over-baked loaf, while the highlighter illuminates but is not shiny like some of the others I have and more suited for daytime use, it provides an alternative to all out glam. The fact it is small and compact makes it good for taking with you the down side is you have to be careful not t get both on your brush at the same time. So Susan products can sometimes seem a little silly on price but at £14 this one is actually not bad especially considering you get two in one. Over all I like this I just wish they had used one of their other packaging styles rather than this one.

And finally…

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Luxie Rose Gold Large Angled Face Brush

I never like to spend a lot on brushes for myself, it is one of those things I tend to feel guilty about. At £10.42 this would be on the border of what I would spend on a brush but given that it is a brand I have not heard of I probably would not have picked it up myself. The fibres are synthetic and lovely and soft, they pick up a nice amount of product, I like the angled head which I find a real help adding contour.

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One thing I will say is until recently watching beauty vlogs and videos I never paid a lot of attention when they were reeling off names and numbers attached to brushes, to be fair I still don’t but for those who do…

DSC01753For me what matters is how the brush feels when I hold it and how it works, if it does the job I want it for it does not matter to me what is was technically designed for. I do love this brush and can see it becoming part of my make up routine for years to come, so far I have not experienced and shedding of bristles the nly thing I have yet to try is washing it and that is because I am bad and only wash my brushes when I really have to rather than regularly like I should.

In all the last two products made up for my disappointment in the others I hope next month will start on the road to spring/Summer looks in terms of make up but we shall see.

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WIP Wednesday – Planning Ahead

This is a bit of a non post in some ways, it won’t tell you really what I have been doing or what I am up to but hopefully it will allow you to see I do have a plan.

In fact I have several plans but since some of them involve winning the lottery, marrying a millionaire wrestler or selling film rights to me book or all three I will stick to the ones that might actually be achievable.

The first is along side Voices there will be two other books out this year, Dragons Mark and the first part of the Queen of Ages Trilogy, Ascension. I have decided that as I like to write in different genres it makes sense that I find some way to differentiate between them so the fantasy/Dark Fantasy books will come under the banner of my Keys to The Castle books, then once I write in other genres I shall come up with a name for those as well, the idea for this is as I build up the home-made swag I can have some which relates to the general genre as well as the specific books.

The swag thing is still a side line, something to go along side the books, an added extra as you will, one of the hardest things is proving to be not wanting to keep it all for me as I make things up lol if you want a quick peek you can look at the Etsy store here or via the website  there is still not much actually up there yet but I do have more waiting to go up once I take some photos I might even create a link page here at a later date.

I have recorded the vlog today and I discuss a couple of things on there but I know now that if I want to make changes to my life in terms of a career from writing then I have to make it happen no one will do it for me.

I feel really positive right now and I feel like even though other people might not see a lot happening at the minute that the future is looking bright.

Television Tuesday – Watching on I-player

Television

Sometimes you catch a tiny bit of a programme and get frustrated you had not seen it advertised if you are in the UK and it is a BBC programme I-player can be a life saver. Sadly however I could not get any clips but this is the Radio Times link and UK viewers can get the programme links from their for a limited time span. http://www.radiotimes.com/programme/dzxyhp/the-prosecutors-real-crime-and-punishment

I loved this programme because it showed the behind the scenes process in a way you do not often get to see, there are many times when we hear about people getting away with terrible crimes and it is hard to understand why, therefore to see the other side of making those decisions the way they have to try to be impartial as they decide on charges and cases was fascinating.

In one a woman was assaulted by the boyfriend and the case is being dropped until she appeals, it turns out the reason was that witnesses did not want to get involved yet q few interviews later and things have changed and you cannot help wondering why the system failed. You can see a combination of factors in cases, witnesses, physical evidence, police reports, and see how these all go together to create the whole picture. Like in writing there is always a back story for every decision made, while we might not need to share them all sometimes it can be interesting to investigate a few.

Film

I haven’t really watched any films as such this week, I have annoyed myself my misplacing the Game Of Thrones boxset of series 1-3 and the search for that could have made an epic movie by itself, and nope I have not found them so I know they are in a really safe place. I did intend to watch the new Bond film Spectre but that is still sat on my desk where the others should have been so hopefully by the time the A-Z challenge is over I will have watched that.

Youtube

They played this as sort of an intro at the Kylie concert I attended I totally forgot about it until it showed up in the side bar as I searched for something else, I am classing this as the Youtube video rather than the song simply because it was part of a bigger experience than just the song, as you watch it I want you to imagine the DJ who was the warm up act has disappeared down into the stage, the lights are down. Then on two screens one at either side of the stage this appears and the concert begins…

Song

After watching Boy George’s team on The Voice on Saturday night I ended up on Youtube watching lots of 80’s videos so I thought this week I would show a classic, I will also confess that in my naivety I the first time I ever saw Boy George on TV I was convinced he was far too beautiful to be a guy

I am also sharing and extra today and that is a friends new WordPress site where she will be doing book reviews, she will offer services fr both reviews and proofreading so please give her a follow, share and spread the love https://accidentalbookreviews.wordpress.com

Vlog Time #60 – Busy Days

Well no Lazy Sunday yesterday as basically that was what I had lol, sorry for the delay in the vlog going up as well I have had a couple of technical issues with my editing software but hopefully it is reselved now, just have to fix the DVD burner issues…

Without further ado here is the vlog plus a look at what has kept me so busy all week…

Always playing Catch Up

Every year we begin the same way full of good intentions that fall to the way side as life continues to get in the way. Some times the distractions are real and justified, family time, illness and emotional drams but sometimes it is simply a case of distraction, too much time on social media playing games.  This week I have been incredibly busy as you know with Sports Relief stuff for work, but what it has made me realise is just how much I can get done when the pressure is on, I have spent days editing various video clips, enhancing photos and generally attempting to do a weeks work in a day or two and for the most part managing it. So why then have I not done two monthly round ups or sent out newsletters? Why have I failed to write daily or to get extra blog posts in the bag? I realise the reason is that I am not accountable to anyone else for them!

The downside to being an self published author is that you make your own deadlines, there is no one shouting at you to get a move on, no one waiting for that next book, well not when you start out anyway though I have no doubt further down the road there will be if I am lucky. So this last couple of days I have been looking more into ways to improve my productivity and to set myself goals, both professionally and personally that will help me get to where I want to be. That means first of all catching up with some housekeeping on the blog and doing a couple of round ups, a couple of posts that should have been done already so they are out of the way before A – Z starts and finishing up the editing for the work stuff.

With all that said I need to go get on with it lol I also have tomorrows vlog to film yet and I need to think of something interesting for that or you will just get me waffling lol

January Round Up

A – Z Challenge 2016 – Theme Reveal

Yes it is almost that time of the year again and so time is time to reveal my theme for this years challenge! Last year we did places but this year I have decided to examine another love of mine for this years challenge, ‘Art!’

I want to try to find an artist for each letter, A – Z obviously, art and writing do go hand in hand while the artist creates visions with oils or acrylics, the writer attempts to do the same with words. In both forms the ultimate aim is drawing people in and evoking emotions, and as much as we all say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, lets face it we all do.

So from the first of April we begin a journey from A to Z, some artists will be more familiar than others, so letters are harder to fill while others are harder to choose between for example Dali or Degas? Where possible I will try to add in some background information and a portrait of the artist but I have not yet chosen them all so I do not know if that will be possible yet.

Fridays you will get a double post of the A – Z post plus a vlog so that way we can keep Lazy Sundays.

Right time for me to get some work done and start finish editing Sports Relief footage out of the way but if you want to join in this years A – Z Challenge there in still time to sign up here.

Vlog Time #59 – Getting Sporty, Plus Lazy Sunday #5

Two for the price of one today… I have a nice double choco-mocha clutched in my hands it is almost lunch time but as the sun is shining I got laundry done first thing, I am not actually having a Lazy Sunday today as later on I shall be heading out to film my colleagues play the managers at football all in the name of charity so if you have your beverage ready I shall begin with the blogs for this week, then move on to the vlog and throw in some bonus bellydancing on the end of it, and no I am not dancing but I might just have arranged a lift to start taking me dancing again so maybe at some point in the future you will see it…

  1. So our first stop off on today’s coffee break is to visit my friend Bridget and grab a quick reminder on something we all frequently need to be reminded of https://bridgetstraub.com/2016/03/17/stay-positive/ life likes to throw those curve balls but with practise and patience we will hit home runs eventually, I even managed to make an analogy using a sport I know nothing about lol.
  2.  Next up a tough call, when you are asked to review a book it is easy if you love it but what if you don’t, Linda discusses the difficulty making that call and you can read my response in the comments although I have also discussed it on here before http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/14/bad-reviews
  3. This week is Sports Relief here in the UK where people dust off their cycles and trainers and do all sorts of sporty things in the name of a good cause but lots of us do these things more frequently than that and Lucy has been fund-raising for a cause very close to her heart which took the life of one of her friends, I do believe that the best way to honour those we lose is to save others in their name https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/lucys-diary-130316/
  4. This is a really helpful informative way to try to track down a pictures origins, sadly it does not work for everything but at least it gives you additional options to research images https://acflory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/howto-search-for-an-image-on-the-internet/
  5. I love this 5 minutes with series and wish I lived in an area where it would be more practical to do it here, sadly there are only two local shops in walking difference and they are both your bog standard corner shop, as for the town centre fewer and fewer independent shops remain between the takeaways , chain stores, and pound shops https://chiswickmum.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/a-chiswick-5-mins-with-sofia-from-the-chiswick-bookshop/
  6. And finally for today, a brief but meaningful flash fiction, the perfect example of how much can be said with a few words https://greenwalledtower.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/the-giants-bride/

If you would like to refill your cup now is the time to do it and I shall leave you with this weeks vlog…

Liebster Award 2016

First let me apologise the blog will be up later today got busy with sports relief stuff and though it is filmed I have not edited it yet, I shall do so when I get home from work xxxx

Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Ellie over at Quotidiandose feel free to pop over and check out not only her answers but also her blog in general as it is well worth a visit.

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This is how it works:

  • Thank my nominator  – Ellie you are awesome!
  • Share the award on my blog !
  • Answer the 10 questions asked of me
  • Ask 10 questions of 10 new nominees
  • Notify them – This is the bit that annoys me lol hopefully pingback will work

So here we go…

  1. Why did you decide to blog?  I decided when I turned forty to stop procrastinating and start writing properly, I had always done little bits here and there but never applied myself so writing a blog was something that was suggested to me at the same time. It was a great way for me to build my confidence and slowly start sharing my thoughts and words and also turned out to be a brilliant way to make a few friends.
  2. Do you have themes that you blog about? (Such as  food, writing, sports, psychology, etc.) The main topic on my blog is writing but I do tend to veer off frequently, it has become a mix of sharing both my writing and my life, so hopefully it lets people get to know me better as a person and get to know how my mind works, I even include a monthly review of a beauty box I buy and I know a few people who are not into make up and beauty still enjoy it because the love the fact I am so honest about me feelings on the things I receive in it.
  3. What is the typical length of one of your blog posts? (word count) Well this one will be longer than a lot of them but that is because half the words are pre written for me lol I try to keep my blog posts to between 500-750 words, I know as a reader if I have a lot of blogs built up in my inbox I will read the ones I know will be shorter first and I know a lot of my readers have similar time constraints meaning they cannot always read all the blogs they would like to. I do not take it personally if someone stops visiting my blog or only pops by occasionally, we all have such incredibly busy lives with our own blogs and writing and reading is always the first thing to suffer.
  4. Are you part of a bloggers network? If so, how has it been beneficial? Not as such, but I do take part in the A – Z challenge each year through April which I find is a great way to find new blogs and get to know new people I tend to pick a couple of new blogs each year and follow all their posts and have always ended up staying on following them afterwards, it is not too late to sign up for this year if you are interested http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-z-challenge-sign-up-list-2016.html
  5. How many times a month do you post  on your blog? I try to post daily, but that does not mean I always succeed or that I actually write on my blog daily. For example I post book reviews on a Monday, usually what I try to do is write the review as soon as I finish the book and queue them although at the minute I am up to date I need to start reading quicker.
  6. Who were the last three followers to your blog? My latest three followers have been Gryffindor Queen over at https://thatweirdbrowngirl.wordpress.com, https://swo8.wordpress.com/ and Mona at https://tishowthelightgetsin.wordpress.com/
  7. If you could meet three historical people from any point in time, who would they be? First up Marilyn Monroe, I want to know what happened that evening was it an accident or was she murdered, I do not believe it was deliberate suicide, Boudica, I am fascinated by the idea of the warrior queen, those who have had sneak peaks of my novel know this so I would love to meet the original but my third choice would also be a queen, Cleopatra, I would love to know how she held the greatest empire to have ever existed in the palm of her hand before losing everything.
  8. Where do you get the inspirations for your posts? Anywhere and everywhere, I think the thing is I think of you all as friends so it makes sense to me to share the same sort of things with you as I would share with friends, books I have read, programmes I have watched, stuff I enjoy and occasionally places I have been.
  9. What is your goal for your blog for 2016? For the next 5 years? This year I want to be more consistent with my posts and write more about more writing, over the next five years I want to start earning a living from writing and be able to quit the day job so I will have to be more focused and not allow myself to get distracted as easily.
  10. What rewards do you have in mind for reaching your goals? Quitting the day job will be the ultimate reward, giving myself the ability to make a living doing something I love and hopefully travelling more as part of that.

And now for my ten nominees…

  1. Bridget Straub
  2. Gemma
  3. Lucy
  4. Heidi
  5. CB Wentworth
  6. Linda
  7. Sandra
  8. Hornygeekgirl
  9. Stephanie
  10. Valentine

You can answer these questions as frivolously or seriously as you each desire I cannot wait to read your responses though

  1. Why did you decide to blog?
  2. Do you have themes that you blog about? (Such as  food, writing, sports, psychology, etc.)
  3. What is the typical length of one of your blog posts? (word count)
  4. Are you part of a bloggers network? If so, how has it been beneficial?
  5. How many times a month do you post  on your blog?
  6. If a fictional character were to write a blog who would you want to write one and why?
  7. Where do you get the inspirations for your posts?
  8. What is your goal for your blog for 2016? For the next 5 years? 
  9. What rewards do you have in mind for reaching your goals?
  10. What piece of advice would you give someone setting up a blog today?

Feeling a little violated by Microsoft

When I bought this new desktop computer I bought it as a windows 10 computer, so you might wonder why I am a little upset with Microsoft this morning, well the truth is they have upgraded me against my will.

I brought home a shiny new computer last October rather than having windows 10 already installed it turned out it was windows 8 but windows 10 ready. I did not think too much of it my laptop had been windows 7 and the upgrade to 10 had gone smoothly why would this be any different?

That night I went to bed leaving it upgrading over night, excited about the prospect of playing with it the next day, if only life went that smoothly. I got up waited the eternity it takes for it to configure those final settings, then fired up my various apps and gradually the smile slipped from my lips.  Things would not load, I could not access half the internet, pages would begin to load but not quite manage it.

I walked away, I made a coffee, I breathed into a paper Bag (well okay not actually but you get the picture). Then I remembered an issue I had with my laptop ages ago to do with broadband frequency width or some such technical mumbo jumbo. I phoned the man at Virgin, for nearly an hour I made his life miserable while he tried everything to fix the problem. He couldn’t fix it.

I finally thanked him and told him I was going to try removing windows and rebooting, you guessed it, I reverted it back to windows 8 and everything worked.

Roll forward a few months and the suggestion box for windows 10 starts popping up more frequently, I hit ‘No Thanks’ and carry on with my life, it gets more persistent and begins appearing daily.

Then last week it starts getting more pushy and asking me to set a date for an upgrade, I keep hitting no thanks and carry on.

It decides to set the date for Wednesday night I hit I will arrange it later.

It ignores me.

I wake up last Thursday morning to find I had been upgraded.

Okay it does work okay this time and obviously whatever issue was there last time has been resolved but damn Microsoft I said no!

I have been upgraded a week and so far no real issues although it does keep making me have to reset my default programmes constantly, so much for saving your settings. It could have been much worse and they do seem to have fixed all the bugs that caused issues previously but the bigger more worrying thing is if they can update my software despite me hitting the no button, what else can the see, do or install without my approval? I have nothing to hide, well unless they look too closely at my browsing history in which case I am screwed, but what if they can put things there? Maybe the conspiracy theorists have a point, or what if someone has a personal grudge and works for an IT company?

I am pretty sure there is a story or two there about what could happen if the wrong person is at the other end of the technology.

 

Television Tuesday – A Woman and a Van

I didn’t watch much TV the week before last but had recorded a few things so this week was a little bit of a catch up viewing week

Television

The Oscars…

I was thrilled Leo finally won his Oscar but more than that I love the fact he took the opportunity to put across the serious message about climate change rather than just a gushing stream of thank yous. I mean of course he did that but he went that step further and spoke from the heart, mentioning the real experience he had in how far they had to travel to film in snow. I have not seen this film yet but I am really looking forward to it and hope that the human race can amend their ways before we reach this point but I am not optimistic. It did annoy me that the Oscars was shown on one of the movie channels limiting the number of people who had the option to watch it over here, technology did mean I did not have to sit up all night but I could only watch it as I have the movie and sports package (I get it for the rugby) but the other thing I do love is seeing the dresses, yes totally girly I know but it never fails to astound me that there are still celebs who obviously don’t have any real friends, I real friend would not let you go out looking a mess no matter what the designer or how expensive the dress!

Film

I was in two minds whether to watch this I shall explain why in a minute…

It has been a while since I read this book and though I know I enjoyed it I cannot now remember all the details so when the film came out I had to decide do I want to watch it or reread the book first. I decided in the end to watch the  film first then reread the book, which I have just started today. I shall discuss more when I do the book review but I do recommend the film.

Youtube

Now I know if you are here reading my blog you are not easily offended, but if you are of a more excitable nature you may wish to pop your hot beverage down before pressing play on the next video, Mina is an incredibly lovely friend, not only does she look fantastic but she actually arranges these Silken Burlesque Shows…

Now, you might wonder just how I can get from Mina’s nipple tassels to writing but actually a good striptease is like a good plot, you reveal everything slowly and in way which draws people in and tantalise them, and although at the end you might think all has been revealed, when you stop to think about things you see that actually just a little has been left for you to fill in your own blanks and maybe want a repeat performance.

Song

A song performed at the Oscars

This is quite a hard video to watch but an important one, too many times stories of things being swept under the carpet or the victims getting the blame seem to pervade.