Monday, 31 December 2012

[BEAUTY] Why I failed the no-makeup challenge

A while ago I wrote about cutting down my makeup usage dramatically, in order to improve my complexion. Well, I lasted a grand total of 8 days!! Ahahaha. My plan was to only wear eye makeup, and give my face a break. 8 days was all it took to make me realise a few things:

Makeup is fun!

I sometimes feel like messing around with fashion, beauty and hair is the only creative outlet I have left. Working in science in a very technical role has decreased my artisticness so much in my opinion - I used to love art textiles at school, but I now lack the ability to come up with new ideas.  Makeup etc gives me a chance to play around with different colours and styles, and I love being able to build up from a blank canvas (my face!) and try out different looks.  Wearing mascara and eyeliner only was boring!! I missed contouring and shading and mixing up different colour combos.

Makeup gives me confidence!

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about the self esteem boost a healthy dose of concealer gives. I was getting weary of everyone telling me how tired I looked by not concealing my dark shadows, and I was very aware of my red unconcealed nose!! Also, sometimes a gal just needs to peacock a bit and wear some vibrant eyeshadow and/or a bright lip.

So yes, I failed, but I have learnt from the experiment - my skin was very clear during the 8 days!! Although I have since only worn makeup on my eyes, cheeks and nose, I have started breaking out quite badly around my mouth?! I'm hoping its just my terrible Xmas diet that has done this!  Anyway, I want to have a few consecutive days a month where I go back to the bare minimum of mascara+eyeliner again, just to give my skin a break.

Tali xxx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

[MEMEME] What I Got For Xmas

Ok so I know what I said - that I didn't want to write about my Xmas pressures because I didn't want to sound materialistic or like I was bragging! However I have loved reading everyone else's posts on this subject, plus I want to share what I got - not to show off but because I am so excited about everything!! Please bear in mind that Christmas for me - this year and every year - is about spending time with my loved ones, gifts etc always come second to that :)

I guess my main present was what I'm writing on currently - my beautiful iPad! 

There's a funny story around this - my bf offered to get my one for Xmas to help with my PhD (so I could work from home and not be stuck reading papers on a laptop), but I changed my mind at the last minute as I prioritised a hair appointment!!!! Hahhaha, only me... Anyway, I ended up having major envy of Mike's parents' iPads, and was so gutted I had said no to getting one. So you can imagine the look on my face when I unwrapped it on Xmas morning! Priceless :) I'm so grateful for it and have been tapping away on it ever since.

Mike also got me....

£50 to spend at the MAC counter at Harvey Nicols, which I spent yesterday on this:

A Jamie Oliver 15 minute meal recipe book - I've been loving watching and/or trying out the recipes from the TV show :)

Lemon Bon Bons which I'm 100% hooked on (bai teeth) and the Warhorse DVD

Mike's family very kindly got me a £30 Next voucher, which I may put towards a certain pair of boots I've been eyeing up, and some lovely Avon eyeliners :)

My parents got me...

£50 to put towards a waterproof coat for when I go riding/help out at the stables. I went to Superdry yesterday and made a sneaky purchase:

(Disclaimer: Please ignore the messy background - towels etc!! Need to tidy my apartment stat!)

They also got me an umbrella that changes colour when it rains (how cool is that!!), and lots of choccies cos they know me too well.

My sister got me a lovely top (I'm wearing it in both pictures) and an aromatherapy massage voucher which I can't wait to spend!

My friends got me...

The Naked2 palette, Nails Inc polishes, beautiful candles, a gorgeous asymmetric hem skirt, Sleek eyeshadow palette and some Body Shop goodies

All in all I have been one spoilt girl! I appreciate everything so much, and can't wait to use everything :)

It's my birthday on Wednesday! I know that Mike is getting me riding lessons for a year (eeeeek!) for my present, and I also got my hair done yesterday which was another gift. 

All in all, I am so grateful for everything and for everyone in my life :)

Tali xxx

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

[LIFE] My Christmas

I'm writing this from my parents house, where I've been for the last 24 hours. I spent Xmas morning at my in-laws and then met my family at my grandpa's hospice and returned home with them :)

It was really nice sending the day with both of my families - I do see my boyfriend's parents as my second family! Dinner was yummy as always, and my presents were out of this world (I'm writing this from my shiny new iPad!) but I don't want to make this into a haul post as Christmas Day, for me anyway, was about spending quality time with my family, nothing else :)

Hope you all had a magical day - what did you end up doing yesterday?

Tali xxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

[LIFE] It's Christmas (eve)

I can't believe that it's Xmas eve already! This year has gone past so quickly, but I have so many great memories from it, and I feel I have learnt a lot over the last twelve months.  I'm sitting here at my in-law's house, watching Xmas movies and full to the brim of After Eights and Quality Streets! 'Tis the season ;)

We made the journey from Scotland yesterday, and arrived in Birmingham at about midday - pretty good going if you ask me! I'm spending up until about 11 o'clock on Christmas morning at Mike's folks before I go over and spend some quality time with my immediate family on Christmas day and Boxing Day.  It's been years since the four of us (me, my parents and my sister) have had a proper family Christmas as I've spent the last two in Scotland! So I'm really looking forward to it :) we don't get to spend time as a family very often, so it's going to be amazing.  

It is a bit of a strange time, as my grandpa is now in a hospice due to late-stage prostate cancer.  His wife, my nan, has been visiting him and worrying about him non-stop - but it seems that she hasn't looked after herself adequately and was admitted to hospital yesterday with severe pneumonia and pleurisy! I'm very close to them, and to see them both in care is heartbreaking, but it's SO sweet to see them both saying "I'm fine, I'm fine but how is he/she (delete as appropriate)??".  They've been together since they were 17, and don't want to live without the other.  

We have 2 massive knee-height bags full of presents at my in-law's!!!! I'm so excited and really hope that everybody likes what I got for them.  I can't wait to see what Mike got for me, as he always gets the most amazing presents ever, but swears that I will LOVE the gifts he has got for me more than anything ever before! Eeeeeeeep!

I have come a long way this year - I haven't had a mood episode for over a year now, and thanks to therapy I feel as though I know myself a lot better.  I'm truly excited for what 2013 has to bring! For me its going to be the Year of Fitness - I want to look after my body a lot more, and I'm going to take full advantage of the gym at my work (I didn't know it existed until a fortnight ago!) - especially now that I can go for free as a student! I can't wait to start my PhD in January! I'm getting the standard PhD jitters, but I know its going to be AWESOME.  I'll do a more indepth post reviewing 2012 and documenting my hopes for 2013 before NYE, but for now I'll leave you with best wishes for Christmas and the new year period!

What are your plans over the festive season?

Tali xxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

[HAIR] Ice ice baby!

So as I mentioned before, for my birthday I am getting my hair lightened, hopefully by quite a lot! My aim is to have it silvery white by spring, so I can wear it like that, or dress it up with pastel streaks.

My inspiration? These snow queen babes:

Tali xxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

[BEAUTY] No makeup on my face for a year? Challenge accepted.

I have literally no idea where this year has gone! Can't believe it is December/Christmastime already.  When did this happen, and where is my festive spirit?! I don't have a christmas tree up in my house (strike one), I have bought next to no presents (strike two) and I've decided not to go to my work's Xmas dinner because I'm just not feeling the christmassy vibe (GTFO).  

 SCROOGE!! But also, new fringe!!

So I mentioned a couple posts back (here) that I was sick to death of my skin being blemish-prone and ridiculously sensitive, and that I was going to set myself the challenge of not wearing makeup on my complexion (i.e. lips and eyes are ok, everything else strictly banned) for 12 months.  My ultimate aim is to get my skin back to a stage where I can put makeup and new products on it without it becoming overly-sensitised and just basically freaking out! 

Me sans makeup, other than a bit of liquid eyeliner and mascara :)

Well, this is my first update about how that is going .. which is quite frankly awesomely! I have had NO blemishes at all, and my skin seems to be settling down and reacting less to things like weather etc.  My rosacea is non existent too! Hurray.  My new wonder product is La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV Intense Light, which is making my skin naturally radiant without the need for any kind of coverage on my face at all!  The only problem I currently have is that this moisturiser burns my eyelids?! Like, they feel like they're on fire for about 10 minutes after applying it, and then start to peel (I am the sexiest person in the world, I know).  I've been using plain jojoba oil to moisturise the eye area, but I can no longer use it for reasons I don't want to go into I dropped the bottle lid in the toilet so had to throw it out lolololololol.  

I'm also starting to feel a lot more confident about my face without concealer, primer, foundation, powder etc etc - I'm starting to even prefer my skin to be natural, rather than caked in makeup (bad beauty blogger!).  I do really miss blush and highlighters, but I think getting my skin to a good standard is more important currently.  Anyway, who needs blusher when you can take a brisk walk?! Ha.  

Other than completely ignoring the fact that it's Christmas, I've been deliberating over my new hair colour.  I know I know, I'm obsessed, but seriously, I've been thinking about going lighter - like a honey/caramel kind of light brown, just so I could get it light enough to get lots of pastels running through it (its the dream!) in time for Spring.  But now I'm thinking, why not go a LOT lighter, like silvery white?! That way I can put all the cotton candy colours through it that I want if I ever feel like it, or leave it a beautiful snowy colour.  Yeah, I can admit it - I just want to look like Daenerys. My hair is currently a warm level 4, so to get to a neutral level 12 is going to take a lot of work, time and toner,  But I'm excited!! I'm going to have the first bleach done professionally of course, for my birthday at the beginning of January.

I'll leave you with the obligatory cat pic - this is Seren, who has been out of the limelight picture-wise because she's so shy I don't often get a decent pic of her! She's been through a tough time, where she started to overgroom to the extent where she would get bald patches, but she's doing much better now after a lot of TLC :)

Seren cat, who is starting to get a lot happier after a stress episode :)

Tali xxx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

HAIR: My hair through the ages

After seeing this tag floating around in the blogsphere, I thought I would add my few cents.  I have changed my hair a LOT over the last 8 years, not always for the better! If you want some comedy at my expense, read on!!

OK, I'm not going to show my hair before I started uni, as it was mousy and frizzy for pretty much the whole time between the age of 15-18!  


When I was in my first year of undergrad, my so-called 'friends' at the time ruined my hair completely! I was a total emo/scene kid back in the day and wanted my (male) friends to dye my hair black, purple and blonde for me.  Basically it turned black and grey/lavender, and not in the cool pastel-grunge kind of way! Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence for this - I dyed my hair back dark the next day but it faded pretty quickly and ended up looking like pic 1 (top left).  Blonde/bronde/mousy/whatever, and with the RIDICULOUS EMO FRINGE that I had for years haha.  
I then dyed it dark red by the look of things (pic 2), and then had dark purple underneath added, along with blonde orange streaks through the top (pic 3).  Whyy!  I alwyas had the same sort of haircut during these years - shoulder length with too many layers which made it look silly in retrospect! Then, thank god, I had it coloured again - this time a nice warm red/brown which looked really good! 
I should mention my BFF is in a lot of these pics -  I'm probably going to accidentally document her hairvolution in this post too (sorry debs)!! In the last pic she accidentally dyed her hair the colour of fire, basically.  I remember wetting myself laughing when I saw her for the first time with FIRE HAIR!!


This was the Australia year, where me and previously-mentioned BFF went to live in Melbourne for a year.  My hair was nice, my dress was beautiful but we lived in a disgusting state - just look at the background in pic 1!!! And that doesn't show the floor haha.  My hair was dark warm brown with a nice side fringe and layers, but it looks really good! I didn't do much with it afterwards - pic 2 is about 6 months later, on Fraser Island if I remember rightly, where its longer (including the fringe, how did I see!) and in its 'natural state'.  I actually love my natural texture - its all wavy and beachy.  
Then I got home, and wanted to have what I called 'sunset hair' (now known as reverse ombre?!) I wanted it blonde fading to mid brown fading to dark brown.  Sunset hair :) Pics 3 and 4 show this - I think it looks pretty cool, although the blonde is a bit brassy for my liking! My hair was nice and long by then too :)


I had probably only had my sunset hair for about a month when I wanted change.  Cue the crazy-hair era.  I went from sunset to pink/blonde/brown.  I loved this hair so much! It was a good length and cut, and the colour was soo cool!! I liked having a full, tri-colour fringe! Unfortunately I got bored of this after about a fortnight (whyyy) and went blue/green/brown instead! This was amazing, and I kept this for just under a month, before going pink all over (no pics unfortunately of this).  I was pink for Christmas 2008, and in the New Year of 2009 went back to a more natural colour - chocolate brown.  What wasn't so natural was the mad hair extensions (more on that in a sec) and of course the fabulous eyelashes :)


Here are the terrible hair extensions! I didn't have them cut in to blend with my layers or anything, and they were pretty crappy quality too.  I remember they kept on dreadlocking themselves on the back of my head!! Eventually I had to throw them out because they literally turned into a birds nest.  I then decided I wanted to be a 'normal' person, and so began my journey to blonde.
First I asked for disconnected layers and to only dye the top section.  My stylist misunderstood (although maybe it was me not knowing what disconnected layers really were!) and so I ended up with basically a little hat-sized blonde section on top, with the rest dark.  I didn't go back to that stylist again!! 
Next, I started getting more and more highlights put through my hair.  Sadly, as good as my blonde may have looked if I was a bit paler, I had just got back from my Spanish house and was mega tan, with blonde hair.  Not a good look for me judging from pic 3 and 4!!!!


I calmed down a little (hair-wise at least) after this.  The world probably sighed with relief when I dyed my hair to a nice light brown.  I love my hair at this time so much, and would love to get it back.  It was so shiny and soft when I dyed over the bleach, and looked so nice.  Unfortunately, when the shine started to fade after a couple weeks, I tried to dye it again to get the shine back?!! Yeah.  That doesn't work. It just felt gross! After this I didn't really dye it for a year.  I remember asking for ombré in summer of 2010, and then hairdresser refusing because it looked too grown-out!! 
Then I moved up to Scotland, and wanted a new change.  My hair was mega long (by my standards!) by then, and I dyed it about a level 3 or 4 brown - really dark, with a heavy side fringe.  
Then in spring 2011, I asked for ombré again, and ended up with orange hair and about an inch of roots!! I didn't go back to that stylist again either ha ha.  No evidence for that either I'm afraid - pics never did the orange justice!!
A few days before my MRes graduation summer 2011, I had it cut and dyed again.  Only the dye job turned it black, and my fringe ended up mega short to boot!! I don't like any of my graduation pics lol, I look awful!!
Anyway, then it grew out, and in autumn of that year I got my red bob.  I loved the colour so much, but I really wish I hadn't cut all of my hair off!! Regretted it ever since.


After my red bob, I started growing my hair again, and got a nice ombré (finally!!) thing going on.  Next,  I had my ends bleached more and a bright neon orange/pink put on the tips. Loved this sooo much.  Only problem was that my ends felt disgustingly dry.  After a few weeks I had my hair cut by a T&G trainee with the intention of dusting the ends only! Unfortunately I could only choose certain styles, and she basically had to cut all the pink off to fit in with her chosen style :( That made me sad.  
Then I had a moments craziness and dyed it dark brown and blue and cut it mega short, and if you've followed my blog since July you'll know how that ended! Basically it faded to mint green after about a week, and I was walking around with the Worst Hair Ever for a few months :( In September or October I had it dyed brown all over, and now I'm just trying to grow it out so I can have long hair again :)

That concludes my hair chronicles!! What do you think? What are your favourite/least favourites out of all my colours? Have you ever had any hair 'mares?!

Tali xxx

Monday, 3 December 2012

[LIFE] Fitness and wellbeing

I'm on a bit of a health kick at the moment - or at least I would be if I wasn't still ill! That's right folks, I have been off work for a week now, and I'm still feeling crappy! Stupid flu.... Anyway, I am tired of doing no exercise and eating without thought.  I don't like the way I look and feel at the moment, and I really want to change that.

I miss running so much!! I stopped because of a knee complaint, and don't really want to go back to it at the moment with all the snow (snow!) and ice, and I don't relish the idea of running in the dark either! H8chu winter!

I also really miss zumba, but due to work and buses, I can't make it to my old zumba class in the next village.   And I would love to go to more yoga classes, but I would have to mission it into Edinburgh to go to anything decent.

So what's a girl to do?! Visit Yoga Download of course! I only discovered this at the weekend, but I've already been trying out a few podcasts and planning on what membership I'm going to get.  Yes girls, it's that good!! I'm in no way affiliated FYI - I just love the fact that you can download/stream classes to your PC/iPhone/etc and get on your yoga mat in the comfort of your own home.  I haven't got lost or confused with the audio instructions yet either - they are all really simple but extremely effective.  There are tons of free classes as well which is what I'm working my way through at the moment.

I'm also planning on horseriding once or twice a month as of 2013, which really excites me - its something I've always wanted to perfect, and it's a great way to stay in shape too.

Regarding my eating habits, I want to start really REALLY tuning in and challenging my gremlin (confused? visit Beyond Chocolate) rather than just mindlessly saying "ok I'll eat the entire box of Quality Streets then".  I've found some new recipes thanks to the culinary god Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals which I'm very excited to try out - although I love cooking and generally cook healthy meals (except for the bangers and mash in this week's shopping list oops!), I get very bored cooking the same thing twice. I always find it difficult finding recipes that are practical (i.e. don't take 5 hours to cook) and interesting, but I really think Jamie has hit it on the head with this 15 Minute Meals! Can't wait to try the Thai Chicken Laksa, the Pork Marsala Porcini Rice and Spring Greens, and the Lamb Kofte, Pitta and Greek salad. Nom! I'll post pictures on my instagram (follow me! Sugarandsakura) of the results :)

Sorry this post has been such a wall of text and probably a boring one at that! The furthest I've been from the house over the last week is the binshed haha, and I'm sure you don't want pics of my flu-ed up face!! I promise I'll post exciting things soon :)

Tali xxx
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