Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Clearing out the clutter: my two rules

It's still the darkest depths of February, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait for Spring to spring.

I find February the hardest month to get through since I moved to England. At first, it was fine, but now after many consecutive winters, February always feels like that last month before there feels like there is hope of more sunlight and warmer weather. It may be the lack of vitamin D that builds up from October or that fact that February just seems to go on for so long... and despite Valentine's day, several friend's birthdays, and it being the shortest month of the year, I really struggle through it.

One thing I've been working on for the last few years is the accumulation of sheer clutter - clutter in my closet, in my makeup drawer, etc. You name it, I hoard it.

Thankfully you won't see me on any reality TV shows for hoarders, but I struggle to live like normal folk (apparently I have an appalling number of shoes on par with celebrities rather than regular women, but that is a post for another time!)

I was suffering from 'well, it's nice and I may need it one day' syndrome. Actually I still suffer a bit from this, but after hoarding clothes in sizes from UK8-14 since my weight kept fluctuating, I finally bit the bullet and started seriously purging my clothes as I started to lose weight and fit into those 10s and 8s.

Now, you can read plenty of lists on the internet that advise you how you should sort your clothes and what to get rid of. I'm sure if you're interested in de-cluttering or clearing out, you've already done that so I won't repeat those strategies here.

The hard part is when you have some crazy emotional attachment to stuff. That's when you look at an item and think about the good times you had while wearing it, or think about the good times you may still have while wearing it... while conveniently forgetting the fact that you've literally had it for 15 years and every time you try to wear it, you try it on, and decide it's just not right.

So I have now implemented a new rule: Wear all of the things. 

That's right, I will wear all the things I own. Okay, maybe not immediately, and some things will be needed less often than others... ball gowns, big winter coats, or swimsuits, however the rule is so simple and useful. If I need a jumper, and I have a jumper I haven't worn in a while: pull it out. Put it on. If you don't want to wear it, get rid of it. There's a reason you aren't wearing it. In the most quoted lines of the last few years: Let it go!

My second rule isn't really a rule so much as  reminder - Emotional attachment to people is healthy, emotional attachment to objects, especially clothing, is not.

If I get rid of that UCSB hoodie from undergrad days, it does not erase all the good times I had while I was a student. Actually, I am not wearing this hoodie and it's just taking up precious space. I will hold onto the memories and maybe take a photo if I really can't part with it (this applies more to things like presents from people or random trinkets than clothes).

When you hold on to all these things, clothing, books, whatever, emotionally, it really weighs you down. If this is your issue, once you start parting with things and realizing that not only are you okay emotionally after parting with those jeans you haven't worn in 5 years, you actually feel less stressed because you can see what you do own in your closet, easily.

Of course, I am still no where near that perfect state. But I am trying. I will continue working on it. If you are also on that path, good luck. The hardest step to take is the first, but you can do it! Good luck!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Revlon Nearly Naked 110 Ivory Review

I hardly ever win anything, but somehow I managed to luck out and get this Revlon Nearly Naked foundation in 110 ivory from a Revlon campaign on Facebook.

I had heard lots of great things when this came out and so was really excited to try - especially as it was free.

I meant to review this ages ago, but only have gotten around to it now!

So here it is, the foundation in 110 Ivory. It comes in a lovely glass bottle...

I took the photo with a tissue, since you'll need at least one or two while applying this foundation. Getting the liquid out of the bottle without spillage or waste was not something I could manage.

I know that this retails as a drug store foundation so perhaps I was expecting too much. Honestly, I haven't used any other drug store foundations before.

It seems odd to me to splash out on a glass bottle, but then not have a good pump or applicator. I'd rather have a plastic squeeze tube. In fact, some of my favourite premium foundations have come in the plastic squeeze tube over the years. I actually prefer this - lighter to carry for travelling and no struggling to try to pump out the last bits.

So, aside from it being a bit messy to work with, it was a decent foundation. Here's a swatch above of the colour blobbed on my arm on the left, and then rubbed in on the right.

It went on smoothly, but left my skin a bit shinier than I would have liked. I am a fan of matt foundations. I also have normal to dry skin, so bear that in mind.

It also smelled a bit chemically. Actually it kind of reminded me of playdoh. Not usually something I look for in foundation, but I guess it could be worse.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Cute stationary - Dr Grip and Sanrio collab

Last month, I discovered something amazing:

Dr Grip, one of the best mechanical pencil and ball point pens, from Pilot, Japan, have teamed up with Sanrio to bring us adorably cute pens and pencils!

If you haven't seen a Dr Grip before, they're chunky really comfortable to hold pencils and pens. They write so smoothly as well. They are also usually pretty expensive for a pen or pencil, but not ridiculously expensive. 

I got these Kutsushita Nyanko and Rilakkuma Dr Grip pens from ModeS4u

and I got this Rilakkuma pen from Artbox at their store in Covent Garden

These have been retailing for 800 yen in Japan, if you're lucky enough to get them direct.

 I got mine for £10.30 each from modeS4u (this includes fees and shipping, so is the price I paid in total) and £11.90 for the one from Artbox.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Shopping online with H&M: delivery leaves much to be desired

So recently placed an order with H&M online and wasn't impressed with the delivery.

First off, was really excited when H&M started offering online shopping as there isn't an H&M where I live.

But they wouldn't deliver to my office cos it wasn't a safe location.

I spoke to someone on the phone (it was a premium rate number btw) and she told me that H&M don't deliver to large businesses because it's not safe for customer's orders. Apparently some customers orders have gone missing after being delivered to businesses. (Personally, I think if you want it delivered to your business, you take the risk of it getting lost at said business... and I'm not sure why this would matter to H&M.... )  I explained that because I work 9-5, I can't be at home to receive a delivery, so sending it to my work is safe for me. She assured me that the courier would require a signature and I could rearrange for them to deliver during evening hours or on Saturday. Neither of which sounded very appealing to me. In theory, yes, but in reality I imagined this to be a nightmare!

Then I got the notification that my order was being shipped out. 5 days later I came home around 10pm and got in the door and had a slip from the courier. Although I hadn't signed for the parcel, the note from the courier said 'left in bush'.

UM, what?

Yeah, so I went back outside in the dark, and they put my package in the dirt buried under a bush at the front of my house. It was covered in dirt and rain. Brilliant.

 I really don't want my new clothes put in the dirt. Totally unimpressed.

Based on this experience, I can honestly say I won't be shopping on H&M online again. Ridiculous.

Although, luckily, H&M opens in Oxford city centre tomorrow, the 6th March 2014, which looks much more promising!

Have you had an awful online shipping experiences?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Adventures in Camden: fairy tale inspired shoes from Irregular Choice

Last week my sister and I went shopping in Camden and came across this really cool shop selling some really cute shoes - Irregular Choice.

I can't really describe these shoes, so I'll let the photos do the talking for themselves!

Rupiez - £129

Paw Print - £125

Drusha - £84.99

Flick Flack - £74.99

Make My Day - £79.99

Abigails Party - £84.99

So whether you're after some shoes with unicorns or kittens for heels or just something really sparkly and original, Irregular Choice may be the place for you! They have several locations in London and one in Hong Kong.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Beauty on a budget: webuybooks.co.uk review

I don't know about you, but this beauty is on a budget. A serious one. As much as I love shopping, I am very bad at getting rid of stuff, which means stuff piles up in my place. I try to get rid of the things I'm no longer using. It helps if I think about someone else getting to use the things I'm no longer using, but still it's a process.

What helps even more is when I can get something in return for my stuff. *KERCHING*

Image credit

I tried webuybooks.co.uk not too long ago to get rid of some books and DVDs that I no longer needed. (They also take CDs and games.) It's a web based service where you tell them what you have and they offer you a price for them. If you accept the offer, you can compile an order and send off your items to them. They inspect them, and transfer you the agreed payment. You can read about how it works in detail on their site.

Generally you should have £10 worth of items before you can send an order off, although sometimes they will offer you less money if you can't make it to £10 (i.e. £7 rather than £8). I assume this is due to the cost of processing orders.

I sent them 20 books and 3 DVDs and got £29 in return. It's not going to make you rich, but it's a nice little bit of spare cash. I was happy with my experience.

I found the process pretty simple and easy. The only hard part is you need to box up your items yourself, so you need to find a suitable sized box and then you need to take it to a collect plus location, which for me is difficult. There isn't one near me, or on a bus route, so I usually have to ask a friend with a car to take it for me, but this may not be a problem for most people.

Before I knew it, I'd had my money transferred into my bank account, just as promised.

Overall, I'd really recommend this service - was really great! The only downside is that you get so little for some books, but it's easier than trying to sell each one individually myself on eBay or Amazon where I may not see any returns.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Finding the right fit in a bra

I have been in love with Bravissimo every since I noticed my bras weren't feeling quite right. I had been wearing a 34B for years and after putting on some extra weight thought that maybe I should have a bra fitting.

I went into Bravissimo and they told me I was a 32E! Well that was quite the surprise, but wow, how comfortable that bra felt.

Now I know how to tell what bra fits well both in band size and in cups. I don't think I was wrong all those years - I think I genuienly fit into a 34B at one point. Maybe it was a bit too large, maybe I was actually a 32C or a 30D, I don't know for certain, but now I find that I vary between a 32E, 30F, and 30FF. But most important of all - I know to try the bra on, and not trust the size on the label.

Sounds so simple, but I was missing out on that. ¬_¬;;

Anyway, I wanted to also post about Bravissimo because not only have been brilliant in sizing, but they also have amazing customer service. I have literally worn bras from there a few times and realised it wasn't right for me and they have given me a refund - no questions asked! Even when I say 'well, I've worn it a few times already...' they haven't even blinked and accepted it for a full refund or exchange. I seriously couldn't be more happy about their customer service.

If you haven't tried them yet, give them a chance. At the very worst, you can simply return your bra!

I guess I should say, the only downside to Bravissimo is that while they have a wide range of band sizes from 28 to 40, they seem to cater mainly to larger cup sizes from D to L.

Here are some of my most recent purchases - well actually bought them a few months ago. So I can honestly say they have lasted well and are truly comfortable.

Satine bra £29 This bra is so comfortable! It does run a bit small in the cup, so I'd recommend going up a cup size than your usual size (The sales woman recommended this and I'd say she was right!) (So if you usually wear 36E, you'll probably want 36F in this one).

I have the Satine bra in nude and it's gorgeous! I never realised how hard it was to find a decent nude bra until I went to an E/F/FF cup! Once you're no longer a cute A/B/C cup, it can really feel like stylish bras just don't exist - all the more so in nude (which people often call 'beige' and seem to think some be relegated to an old woman's knicker drawer).

Fanciful bra, £ 32

Patsy bra, by Freya £30
I have two of these and really love it. it has some light padding, which I adore - who wants nipple show-through?! I also nabbed one of these in a pale pink from Debenham's. I hope Freya keep making this style. It's so lovely, although I do find the band stretches a bit, which is why the 30 felt a bit tight at first, now feels very comfy. I originally got a 32 band but it became far too loose on me too quickly.

Remember if you go down a bandsize but the cup size fit fine, you should go up a cup letter as you go down (i.e. I went from 32E to 30F, so only the bandsize got smaller, the cup size stayed the same even though the letter changed). Or, down a cup size if you wanna increase the bandsize (i.e. from a 32E to a 34D).

Yep, bra sizes are so confusing to the uninitiated!

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