Friday, 4 January 2013

chapped lips and various lip balms

Just before my Christmas holiday started, I got sick. It was your typical winter virus, except this time it decided to hang around for a few weeks - even now I'm still coughing and feeling bunged up - but the virus itself wasn't the problem. Oh no, I was in agony because my lips were chapped to the max! I have no idea why this time they were so bad as I've never had terribly chapped lips, but they hurt like hell and it made eating and drinking very unpleasant. On the bright side, I did look like Angelina Jolie in the mornings!

Just to show you all, I took a picture of my lips a few days after Christmas. They were on the road to recovery at this point, but still quite painful. I didn't take any pictures of them while they were really bad (except on instagram but thankfully the quality prevents you from seeing what they really felt like).

In hindsight, they don't look too bad but then they were covered in lip balm incessantly at the time. What I will point out is that they look slightly ombred, which meant that they were quite sensitive too.

So enough of the how, the main point of this post is to go through the various lip balms I used and more importantly, which actually helped?

 So here we have all the various products I used, including another method that I will mention when I come to the product. I have edited these images as I felt they needed jazzing up and the true colours of these products don't actually matter.

 Agatha Ruiz De La Prada
 Vaseline lip therapy
Lypsyl Lipbalm Original

 Agatha Ruiz De La Prada raspberry lip balm: This was the lip balm I happened to have in my bag and frankly, I wasn't expecting much from it. First off, it's scented so it's more of a little trinket than a useful lip balm that's meant to heal your lips. It did give me a bit of relief when I had it on but that didn't last long, nor did it help in the long run. Aside from that, it's incredibly difficult too get the lid off (at school, I've had five people try and take it off with only one succeeding) so that it's a major drawback. I would give it 2/5 as I didn't feel it was that effective.

Vaseline lip therapy: We all know Vaseline is the go-to solution when you have chapped lips, but does it always help? No would be the answer. As my sister rightfully pointed out, it's just petroleum jelly and only coats your lips. So like the first lip balm, it doesn't do anything to heal them. I also thought it had an addictive side, as I could not stop slathering it onto my lips. I was nearly finished with the pot after three days! Having said that, putting it on my lips gave me more relief than the first balm, but I really had to put a thick layer on. Mind you, it does only claim to sooth dry skin and chapped lips, so it did do what it tells you it will but it didn't improve the state of my lips.

Speaking of which, I got rather desperate and googled the problem and found a suggestion to put honey on your lips and Vaseline over the honey and leave it for ten minutes. Not only did it not help, it also stung a lot and was quite painful so I wouldn't recommend that method.

So I would give Vaseline 2.5/5 as it did help when I had it on, but sadly it didn't improve the chappedness (not a real word, I know).

Lypsyl Lipbalm Original: I asked my Granny to get a lip balm in a tube as opposed to a pot when she went out to get her morning paper and she came back with this. I was quite optimistic when I saw this because it says it contains Aloe Vera and vitamin E so I was hoping it would be more effective than the previous two. Unfortunately the consistence is what ruined it. The texture of the lip balm is very rough and not at all pleasant to use on very sensitive lips! Nor did it seem to blend well with my lips so I didn't get the feeling that it helped a lot. I had hoped for a lot from this but it was very disappointing and not at all soothing so I'd give it a 1..5/5.

 Crabtree & Evelyn Aloe Vera Lip Balm
Labello Med Protection SPF 15 Lip Balm
 Hema lip rescue

 Crabtree & Evelyn Aloe Vera lip balm: Admittedly, this one is a few years old so its effectiveness is most likely quite lacking. I found this on my desk when I'd concluded that the Lypsyl one was useless and I was looking for a new one. Unfortunately this didn't help a bit and was also quite rough so I wasn't very impressed with it. 1/5

Labello Med Protection SPF 15: I asked my Dad to buy me a lip balm that looked like it would help damaged lips and when he came back with this, I was suitably impressed. It looks quite official and quite medicinal. I also checked and the brand has a line that is meant for damaged lips, so no flavours at all. I felt like this helped quite a bit more than anything else I had. It wasn't a miracle but it definitely seemed to have some long-lasting proprieties. I would give it 4/5.

Hema Lip Rescue: And as this is the last one, you can guess that it's also the best! My sister gave it to me one evening, saying she found it and didn't need it and she thought it might help. And help it did! Not only does it have the typical aloe vera, it also contains mint which had quite the cooling effect and really helped sooth my lips. I definitely felt like this was improving my lips and continued to use it until my lips were almost back to normal. 4.5/5

So there you have my little review of the various lip balms I've used and I hope it helps some people! What do you think is the best lip balm out there? I've heard that Carmex is quite effective and I had the pot once; I believe it also has a slight minty scent along with cherry? I didn't have time to get that one when I was in England but please, let me know what lip balms you think help!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

slight rant about clothes sizing

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely New Year's Eve and are enjoying the first day of 2013. This post is slightly related to NYE as I was looking for a nice dress to wear. A week ago I saw this beautiful dress in Mango and I fell in love with it instantly. You know, the kind of dress you believe is your dream dress and you would actually be willing to buy, despite it being above your normal budget for clothes.

You can't see it very well on this picture, but the transparent material has gold sparkles that seem very festive and ideal for NYE. So despite it costing 50 euros, which is way more than I would usually spend on a dress, I was very tempted to buy it. And when the sales started, I was even more tempted as it may be reduced and I decided, even if it does cost 50 euros, I'd still buy it. 

So I go to Mango with my sister, find it in both L and XL, so everything was looking good at this point. I tried the XL on first and... it didn't fit. Now being a size 16 (sometimes 18), I was expecting an XL to fit. And by didn't fit, I  should elaborate by saying it squished my boobs down and I could have got it to fit, but it wouldn't have looked very nice.

So there I was, thinking maybe I had overindulged over Christmas and I'd gained a bit too much. But then I looked at the tag and apparently XL (their biggest size) is a UK size 14, or a size 42 in Luxembourg. Now I wasn't aware that 14 was considered XL, but apparently Mango is a Spanish brand, which means the sizes are quite a lot smaller. 

Now, what annoys me is that they only stock to a size 14. Okay, they're not the only brand that only stocks to a size 14 (isn't that right, Motel?) but the fact that a 14 is considered XL really bugs me (for reference, a 14 in Motel is an L). Does that mean a size 16 is XXL? Size 18 XXXL? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? 

Most brands stock to at least a size 18, perhaps they have a specific range for larger sizes, but the main thing is that if you're a size 16, you can still find nice clothes in most shops. It's not really fair that certain shops don't stock to an 18. It's like they're saying 'No, you have to be smaller to shop here'. In a way, it's their loss because they lose a customer (or more) because of their narrow range of sizes. But it's still me who feels upset because I quite liked that dress. I'm also quite happy with my size. Ok, I could lose a bit of weight from my tummy and face, but I don't want to go on a mega diet to drop a few sizes. And why should I? Yet still, the fact remains that I now feel that I can be considered as too fat for certain clothes when I am not actually grossly overweight.

Generally, you are excluded from certain shops as you can't afford their clothes. Nowadays it seems you're judged on your size as well, what with the size zero craze over in Hollywood. It disappoints me that you're not only limited in where you shop by your budget, but also by your size. And as I said before, it's a silly notion as limiting your audience means you could also potentially be limiting your profit. Maybe that doesn't apply to designer brands, but I think it does to high street ones. 
So now that I know that Mango doesn't stock clothes in my size, I'll avoid it and stick to shops that do. Of course, it is a shame as I wanted to branch out from where I shop, but I guess I'll have to try somewhere else. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

christmas day

Hello everyone! I know, you've probably been inundated by Christmas posts, but it is that time of the year and I love seeing everyone share photos of their day. Frankly, I thought this year would be very weird and awkward as it's our first year celebrating Christmas with one parent as opposed to the two (my mother chose to stay in England with her parents), but it was great actually! There wasn't an awkward atmosphere like last year and we all had lots of fun, even if I was under the weather.

These pictures were all taken with my present, a Nikkor 35mm f1.8 lens! I haven't worked it out completely yet, but practice makes perfect!

I couldn't resist trying out a bokeh effect as my standard lens wasn't really good for depth of field.
A picture with my fluffy Molly (and basically an excuse to try my Nikon remote out!).

Some of the makeup related presents I received (from my sister and her boyfriend ) although there are a few more bits and bobs.

Molly looks like a puppy in this picture, despite being 7 years old! She was like a teddy bear as a puppy and still retains that quality, it seems!

My cat Charlie, who at least posed, unlike her sister.
Molly wearing my new Gryffindor scarf! She's so photogenic, this dog.
Dani and Minnie, my two older sisters.
And that's me, looking a bit dopey due to the meds..
My crazy siblings and I.
The dinner table, although a few things were missing.
My favourite part of Christmas dinner, sausage meat!!!! I lovelovelove it.
Charlie, looking exceptionally inspirational. It just needs one of those quotes next to her.
And our Christmas tree!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you're enjoying the sales+ I haven't been out yet to browse them although I may do so soon. Tonight we're going to see the Hobbit, as we are all big Lord Of The Rings fans!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Gift ideas: L'occitane

A lot of gift idea posts have been popping up all over blogger and I love seeing these. No matter how well I know my friends and family, there will always be someone whose gift I will be despairing over. So seeing lots of bloggers post ideas is always refreshing, even if they just push you in th right direction.

Now I'm not going to post in general about gifts, rather I will talk about certain gifts that I have already got. Of course, these aren't gifts for my sisters as I know they read my blog and I'm not that stupid as to post about their presents.

So today I'm going to post about my nan's present, which was quite a coincidental discovery. I was in the shopping centre after tutoring, waiting for my bus (yes, I have to get two buses to get home from tutoring, which isn't that much of a hardship) when I decided to amble along into the L'Occitane shop. I've been contemplating getting my mother a present there, but I didn't find anything that really stood out to me. But fortunately, my visit was not in vain as I discovered something I could get for my nan. I would have killed two birds with one stone and got one for my granny too, but I wasn't quite sure about what scent she liked so I had to wait.

This is "4 Reines (4 queens)" rose trio, which I thought was a perfect present for my nan as she is quite fond of rose-scented things. The trio retails for 15€ in Europe, I couldn't find it on the English website but it should be around the same price. 

So in the set are a bath soap, a bath and shower gel and best of all, a hand cream. I myself love hand creams and it's a perfect gift for during the winter as your hands will need a bit of TLC. This gift may seem a bit 'grandmotherly' but I don't think it's limited to grandmothers as the shop really does have a lot of stuff, including some very interesting perfume scents and personally, I would quite pleased if I got something from L'Occitane as it's not something you really need, but you'd be pretty pleased if you get it anyway. It's also not as generic as getting something from Sephora (as in, the brand Sephora, which is what I used to get people when I wasn't quite sure what they wanted) as it does have a certain luxury to it.

Not to mention the adorable packaging and in-store service. Yes, I am sold because their samples were a lot more pleasing than what I get from Sephora (really? two years on and you still give out the same Clarins cream sample?). So if you're in a bit of a rut of what to get a female friend or relative, I think you can't go wrong with L'Occitane unless of course, said friend gets headaches due to scented stuff ;)

lazy days

Hello everyone, how are you all?
I myself have had a rather lucrative and productive weekend, babysitting and tutoring yesterday. I'm especially pleased with myself as I am saving up to buy everyone presents, especially once I get to England (16 days!). Aside from that, with yesterday the 1st of December, we've had our first (official) snowfall! It was lovely last night, watching it snow. Snow never fails to lift my spirits up, although unfortunately it had all melted by this afternoon...

I have decided to do an outfit post as instead of just wandering around in my joggers and some random top, I actually put a different outfit on as I felt like wearing some of my more winter appropriate clothes, especially as it's officially December and it's getting quite chilly now.

I have yet to master the art of both posing and getting my camera in good position (let's hope Christmas fixes the latter - I'm hoping to get a tripod of some description). I don't usually wear leggings as I've always preferred tights. But I've seen a lot of people wearing leggings and a long top and it is quite a nice look, so I decided to try it out myself. I'm not sure if I would go out in this outfit, especially with the woolly cardigan - I fear it may be too in your face for some people in Luxembourg.

But I would definitely like to try the leggings + long top combo, perhaps tomorrow if it's not too cold and if I dig a nice long top out of my wardrobe. I've noticed that I have a distinct lack of long tops and party dresses. In fact, I only really have three party dresses and one of them doesn't even fit me...

 So the cardigan in question was a gift from my nan. She knows how much I like  neon colours and whilst I have toned my wardrobe down from what it was like a few years ago (clashing colours galore if you're curious), I still do like the odd colourful piece. Knowing my nan, it's most likely from TK Maxx or M&S, and I just checked and it is indeed from Marks & Spencers. I like that the print isn't the most aesthetically pleasing, its oddness is endearing to me so maybe I will wear it out to school, even if people will think it's a monstrosity. At the least, I'll wear it if I attempt to take my dog for a walk (as a side note, I have the laziest dog ever).

But the pattern is definitely wintery, so I will probably wear it most weekends, even if my dad winces when he sees it. My dad thinks my fashion choices are 'unique', in his diplomatic words, especially my pink doc martens, of which he isn't particularly fond.

Anyway I hope you all like this post, although I am aware that my blog isn't nor will it ever be a fashion blog. I suppose I just like to occasionally post my outfit of the day, if it's something special. I won't post every day as usually I repeat my outfits weekly ;)

So what do you all like to wear at home on lazy days? I've seen the trend of onesies grow but I haven't yet bought one...who knows, I might buy one when I'm in England :)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

the hair deal: introduction

For as long as I can remember, I have hated brushing my hair. This is definitely due to the fact that my hair was -and still is- always a frizzy mess. My mother had a lot of difficulties getting me to brush it when I was a child, and when she took matters in her own hands and did it herself, it was still no walk in the park. In fact, when I went on a school trip for 10 days aged 11, my mother had to ask my best friend to make sure that I would brush my hair. But why did I have this attitude?

Simple, really. My hair was full of knots and it was damned painful brushing it. Of course, it was only a few years ago that I realised I should comb it instead of brush it. So my hair then went from a frizzy, undefinable mass to somewhat manageable, still frizzy, curls. But the condition of it is...deplorable. I had resigned myself to having forever dry and broken hair, especially as I've managed to get it to grow so much later (Oh how fickle we can be!). But lately, I've realised just how painful it is even combing my hair, which I usually do during or after my shower, when my hair is still damp (I don't want to go back to the triangle of hair, after all). But by the next day, new knots will have formed, which sort of defies the whole point of combing it. To put this into perspective, I'm sure if I left my hair to its own devices, it would form natural dreadlocks, which isn't a look I'm particularly keen on for myself.

This is sadly what a post-combing session looks like

So what to do now? Well, for starters, I definitely need to invest in a hair mask. Tonight, I tried out a sample I got from L'Occitane which was for dry and broken hair. To be honest, I wasn't whether to be offended or not when the lady added it, but then I figured that it was nothing personal as I did choose the hair sample. So now I'm going to see how it affects my hair and if it works, I might get it (if I get over the price tag, sob).

One thing I have learnt from my hair "journey" is that if you have curly hair like mine that's already damaged, avoid heat products like the plague. Yes, that includes hairdryers. I let my hair dry naturally, even in winter, because otherwise it gets more damaged despite heatsprays, and it just doesn't look good. I also only ever straighten my hair once in a blue moon as it never fully straightens anyway.

So basically I'm going to try and chronicle my hair journey to see if using various products actually improves it. I can't say this will be a weekly thing because let's face it, I need to save up at this time of the year.

I do however have a hair oil that I only ever used once that I think I'll try out when I have the time so I can see if it actually makes a difference to my hair.

If anyone has any tips, I would be very thankful to hear them and I hope you all like this new 'feature' I want to attempt.

On another note, could you all let me know if my layout is properly aligned? It is on my laptop, but I'm not sure it is on different resolutions. I might still change it to make it easier...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to say I've changed the layout, but I'm not finished yet so it may seem a bit strange for the moment. What I'm trying to do is put links underneath the header that will link you to pages as I've noticed that my sidebar is a bit cluttered...

If anyone has any tips on how to do this, they would be greatly appreciated as I'm not too confident with the method I'll be trying out...

Thanks and bye!