ELF HD Powder AKA miracle skin!


I did a post recently with a photo of my skin looking amazing, and realised it was in part down to ELF's High Definition powder. I've been taking really good care of my skin recently and it has improved it no end, but the powder adds a soft focus finish which really tops it off.

Here's a photo of me the other day with no HD powder on. (Excuse the lank hair - I used Batiste XXL on it and when I wash it the next day I have to use double the shampoo and conditioner I'd normally use just to get a brush through my hair!)

As you can see there's a bit of shine going on.

Here we are after the powder.

Wonky eyebrows fo lyfe!

As you can see it gives a soft focus look to the skin. I took these photos really quickly in between washing up, getting tea up and taking sunset photos so I didn't buff the powder in enough - it's on my fine face hairs - but hopefully you can still see what a difference it makes.

Here's the product itself - very well used, as you can see.

It's a very large pot of extremely fine milled powder. It's the fineness of it which I believes gives the soft focus finish. It's like it covers every tiny little pore and makes me look amazing. It also reduces shine. You get a generous 8g for £6 and it comes in 3 colours - translucent (which I have), shimmer and colour correcting yellow. You can find it here.

About the container - it's big and clunky and due to the fineness of the powder every time you open it a small puff of powder escapes into the air. If it were a stingy container it might be a problem, but I estimate there's enough product in this container to be used every day for a year so it's not a huge issue overall.

Will you be giving this HD powder a go?

Thanks for reading.

Flashback Thursday 4


It's Flashback Thursday time!

This is a photo of me from about 2008. In those days I used to do my make up a lot just for fun - and to take photos of course. Ha!

I love looking back at old photos of myself - it's like looking at a different person.

Thanks for looking!

Previous Halloween dress up

Hiya lovelies.

I'm not going out this Halloween (BOOOOO!) so I thought I'd do a run down of some previous outfits.

On Halloween 2008 we went to see Slayer. Since they're such a bunch of damned-to-hell souls I though dressing up as a fat vicar would be apt. The outfit went down well and a lot of people loved it.

I miss you funky hair!

For Halloween 2009 we went to the Brighton zombie walk, which was awesome. I went as a zombie bowling enthusiast with a bowling shirt and bag.

In 2011 I didn't go anywhere but I dressed up and took photos anyway.

I put a whole can of Batiste into my hair and smothered by body and clothes in talc.

Again, last year I didn't go out but I did some witchy make up.

We also went to a Halloween themed wedding last year. Full post here, including the Mr's outfit.

I don't just dress up on Halloween. I'll dress up for any reason, especially if the theme is spooky or pirate! I have some other photos I can share from other fancy dress occasions another time.

Do you dress up for Halloween? What's been your favourite outfit, if so?

Thanks for reading.

Chronic illness challenge day 14 - grateful

Hello pickles!

Day 14 - Give 5 things you're grateful for.

  1. My husband, without whom I'd not only be financially destitute, but totally miserable.
  2. My friends and family, who make me feel relatively normal, despite everything.
  3. The chance to slow down and appreciate all the good things in the world. 
  4. For where we live, where the scenery is a constant boost to my health.
  5. It's shallow, but for pretty things which cheer me up and make life more bearable. 
Thanks for reading!

By request - blogging advice

Hello you!

I get quite a lot of emails from readers about starting a new blog or improving their new blog and I wanted to address some of them publicly in case it helps anyone else who may have questions.

(Disclaimer: I don't claim to be the authority on blogging - but I can give you my thoughts on it.)

Some of the questions I've received are:

How did you pluck up the courage to start? I had something I wanted to say, and the urge to do it over-rid the nerves, which gave me the impetus. I didn't expect anyone to follow me, so there was really no pressure at the beginning. Those who followed me initially were my friends, bless 'em.

How did you choose what to write about? I chose what I love. It's that simple! EVERYONE has interesting things about them. You just have to find what lights you up inside and the rest is easy. You don't have to post about just one thing. Everyone is multi-faceted and it's OK for your blog to reflect many interests.

I had been blogging about beauty, my life and health for a couple of years and about a year ago I decided to change the main focus of my blog to plus size fashion. I'd been reading plus size blogs for about a year and wished I had the courage to put myself out there, but I was petrified of haters/crappy comments. For a long time I never really talked about being fat or showed full body photos on the blog, so when I 'came out' as a fatty I was petrified. I could share my mental and physical health, and my deepest thoughts, but my body? Help!

I suppose had a 'soft launch'. I did an outfit post here and there and no one said anything horrible so I carried on. Here I am! I'm SO glad I put myself out there.

How did/do you attract readers? This is the interesting bit. All the while I was an in-the-closet fatty I didn't have very many followers at all. Only since I've 'come out' as a fat blogger have I gained many more readers. The truth is, when you're REALLY being yourself, people are drawn to that.

Here are my tips for how to attract (and keep) readers.

1. The best way to get readers and comments is to visit other blogs and comment regularly. People like people who are interested in them. I don't see commenting on blogs as a 'strategy'. I do it because I love reading what other people have to say or show me, and I like to connect with them. Quite often, the case will be that someone will see your comments on their blog and think 'Aww, that's such a nice comment, I'll go check out their blog!' That is how friendships are made. Be kind, be genuine, and people will read.

2. Make sure your blog has a simple functional design with colours that don't offend the eyes. If your blog is red and yellow like Hulk Hogan's outfits of yore, you're going to give people migraines. There are numerous bloggers out there who will help you with blog design for free or for a small charge. Ask around, or many advertise their design services on their blogs. Some tips though - white text on black is incredibly hard to read, as is tiny text. Stick to two or three fonts overall, and avoid 'fun' fonts. Trust me, they're not fun. Don't autoplay music, even if you think you have the best taste in the world. That's a turn off 101% of the time.

3. Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. Get a Twitter account and use it. Follow the hell out of your peers, talk to them, network up a storm. It's probably the biggest help you will get to get your blog out there. Don't underestimate this. Not all bloggers will be approachable over Twitter, but all the good ones are. I've been blanked quite a few times by well-established bloggers for whatever reason. I tend to find some of the ones who've been doing it for years don't always appreciate newer bloggers, but they are in the minority and it's their loss. One of the reasons I love Mrs Bebe is because she's well up there as an established blogger but is totally approachable and lovely. So go forth and make friends!

4. Have some grasp on the language you are blogging in. Readers will forgive (or may not notice) a few spelling mistakes and minor grammar issues, but if you write 500 words without a single punctuation mark, don't use paragraphs, and Capitalise Every Word Like A Teenager you will make people's eyes bleed. I'm not talking about people whose first language isn't English, or people with dyslexia or other learning issues. I'm talking about people who could have a great blog if they did a tiny bit more work on their English. I've forgotten most of what I learned in English (since I was at school a million years ago) and Fibromyalgia is slowly eating away at my brain, so I often use Google for help. There is a lot of advice available out there, at your fingertips.

5. Take part in blogger round ups which get together a few bloggers of your ilk. In my case, I joined 5 blogger outfit challenges where you do outfit posts to a theme. Every time I've asked the originator of a challenge I expect them to say 'You? Hell no! Why would we want you?!' but thus far everyone has been lovely. It's a great way to meet other bloggers and hopefully make some friends as well.

6. Take the time to comment on the other people's blogs in any challenges/round up posts you're in. I try to comment on every single post in every challenge I'm in. If we're doing a challenge together I see it as a little community and I want to support every member of that. Just be as sociable as you can and you might make friends who'll then want to comment on your blog.

7. Reply to as many of your comments as you can. This is a no-brainer. If people take the time out of their busy day to comment on your blog, try to take the time to reply even if it's only a smiley, a <3 or a 'Thank you!' I always reply to comments. As a blog reader/commenter, I find it sad when I write lovely comments on someone's blog time and time again and they don't EVER reply (to me or anyone else.) Let's play devil's advocate here. We all have busy lives, and not everyone has the time to reply to every comment. But people who never, ever reply? That's just mean. Don't be that person, unless you want people to think you're some kind of one-way-traffic prima donna. That's a sure-fire way to lose readers. If you're lucky enough to have a really popular blog post and you're overwhelmed and can't reply to all the comments, reply at the bottom to let everyone know their comments were heard, thank everyone collectively and move on. It takes 30 seconds, will make people think warmly of you and will encourage future interaction. It's not rocket science. :)

8. Change to a comment system like Disqus where you get an email every time someone comments on your blog. Your readers will also get a notification when you've replied to them, which is a beautiful thing! It keeps the conversation flowing, and that's what it's all about.

So, to summarise.

Also - this is so glaringly obvious that I almost don't need to say it, but I will anyway - you need to have the content to keep people coming back. You've got to have something to show people consistently. If you're doing all the hard work with the points mentioned above, make sure you have something that's worth coming back for. You can have the best looking blog in the world, but if you only post every 3 months, you're not going to have a popular blog. You'll need to work out how many days a week you post (by trial and error) but 2-4 times a week is probably a good start. Get a note pad and write down ideas for posts. If another blogger has inspired you, let them know and even ask for permission to borrow their idea and link to their blog in your post. Everyone loves a generous blogger - you have everything to gain by crediting people who've inspired you. Everyone loves to see their name and blog link in someone else's post, trust me.

Is it worth it? Should you set up a blog? YES. Do it. The connection you have with your readers will make it all worthwhile. The first time someone emails, tweets or Facebook messages you to tell you you're making a difference to their life just by being you? That is golden, and life doesn't get much better than that! Is it a lot of work? Yes. I spend probably 2-3 hours a day on my blog, but I love it and wouldn't change it for the world.

Any questions? Ask away.
Got any tips yourself?

Thanks for reading.

Sleek Vintage Romance look #1 Berry all over

Hiya loves!

I'm enjoying my new Sleek palette a lot and here's the first look I did with it.

Shine on you crazy diamond

I used Pretty in Paris as an inner corner highlight, Honeymoon in Hollywood all over the lid and Love in London in the outer corners.

Excuse the un-plucked brows.

Mascara - Soap & Glory's Thick & Fast (full review coming soon.)
Lips - Vivo matte lipstick (over gloss) in Deepest Plum (it's not on the website at the moment.)

You're going to see some different photos from this set in the next couple of days as I show you some photos taken without ELF's HD finishing powder, and then with it so you can see the difference. I'll give you the full run down of what I used on my face (blush, foundation etc.) then as you'll be seeing more of my fizzog!

Are you feeling berry on the eyes and the lips or is it too much for you?

I'm not quite sure myself yet! Thanks for reading, as ever! :)

My Kindle


A few weeks ago I got an email from Amazon offering a discount code for £20 off the basic Kindle, taking it down to £49. I'd had a Kindle in my wishlist on Amazon for about a year, so I guess they wanted to prompt me along. Fine by me! Hubby and I had been thinking about getting a tablet for us both to use, or some kind of e-reader for me, so this was too good an offer to resist, especially as it was time sensitive.

 It's a 6 inch black and white e-reader which can hold about 1400 books.

 It's so light - only 170g.

I've put about 60 books on it so far and have read for about half an hour a day or more almost every day since I've had it.

I bought a purple faux-leather case/stand and a reading light from eBay for £7.98 for both. It also comes in a few other colours.

Below is the case being used as a stand. Because of Fibromyalgia my grip is a problem not having to hold the Kindle constantly helps. It's actually light enough for me to be able to hold it and swap hands every few minutes to stop the awful cramp I get, but of course it's better if I don't have to hold it at all, except to turn the page. :) I only got back into reading because of CBT. It made me realise I need distraction techniques to stop me from worrying excessively. I think too much sometimes and having a diversion really helps keep my mood up.

The light I bought is actually too bright for me, and there was me worrying it'd be too dim. I use it to read in bed when hubby is asleep and it's so bright I wrap tissues around it or else I get a headache and it glares off the screen.

I also bought a mains charger from eBay for £1.98. It also doubles up as a phone charger (mini USB) suitable for most newer phones. It's got a really sturdy lead and an indicator light and is much nicer than the charger that comes with most phones. I was pleasantly surprised. On Amazon, Kindle accessories are a lot more expensive than on eBay. A similar charger was £12 on Amazon - so if you do buy a Kindle, do shop around for accessories. The Kindle charges by USB but I thought it can't hurt to have a mains charger as my USB ports are usually taken up charging my phone or uploading photos to my PC. One charge is supposed to last around a month averaging at half an hour's usage a day. I can't vouch for that as I haven't had it a month yet and some days I've read for a couple of hours.

So, what do I think of the Kindle? I love it! Having a huge amount of reading material in one place is brilliant. Having something I can put in my bag which weighs as much as a thin paperback is wonderful. I've taken it out with me a couple of times and it's a joy as I'm uber awkward and when I read, I forget to be a dork. 

Other than the old skool keyboard (left/right/up/down) it's pretty user friendly. You can change the font and font size easily. There are next page and previous page buttons to the left and right of the Kindle screen. When the screen is off, you get an image related in some way to books or writing - typewriter keys, fountain pens etc. Pretty nifty. There are loads of free or cheap books on Amazon - I have a mixture of bought books and some which were free, both classics and new books from less known authors. If you get followed by an up-and-coming author on Twitter they'll sometimes send you links to their Kindle books for free, which is nice. The biggest advantages about the Kindle for me are the chance to try lots of authors cheaply, and also the instantaneous transfer of books to my Kindle. It takes about 15 seconds over wifi and then I'm reading. Boom! It's fantastic. It totally looks like you're reading a book too. I was expecting the screen to be brighter than it is, but if it was it wouldn't be book-like. To all intents and purposes, you can forget you're not reading a real book.

I want to get my old favourite books for the Kindle. I've already donated a bin bag full of books to charity and will eventually get rid of almost of them, which will free up room for other things. *cough clothes cough*.

When Kindles first came out I was dead against them - I was a book purist. However, as my health got worse having a Kindle became increasingly more appealing. It's an early Christmas present from the hubby and one I'm sure I'll get constant enjoyment out of.

Have you got a Kindle or other kind of e-reader? Would you like one? Are you a book purist like I was?

Thanks for reading.

Sleek Vintage Romance palette


As soon as I saw swatches of Sleek's latest palette I did a loud squee.

If you've been reading a while, you might know I'm a major Sleek fan. On the whole I find their palettes to be excellent value, with a good choice and variety of shades, and usually the pigment is excellent.

It comes in the usual sleek packaging. Sleek....sleek....see what I did there? Yeah, I'll shut up now.

It's a quite 'samey' palette at first glance. It is and it isn't - there are a few taupe shades in the top row, which have enough variation between them to make them worthy inclusions, but the two berry pinks is one too many in my opinion as there's not much difference between them. Overall it's a good palette and I look forward to taking these shades for a spin, as I don't have many berry shades in my possession.





(N.B. I don't know why I do this. I HATE describing colours. These are just my humble, colour-uneducated take.)

PRETTY IN PARIS - a very shiny silver which I'll use as a highlight in my inner corners to avoid the 'tin foil eyelids' look
MEET IN MADRID - a pretty golden brown
LUST IN LA - slightly darker taupe
ROMANCE IN ROME - blackened blue with fine silver glitter - slightly gritty/poorly pigmented
PROPOSE IN PRAGUE - matte reddish brown

A VOW IN VENICE - berry pink
MARRY IN MONTE CARLO - berry-ish dusky pink
HONEYMOON IN HOLLYWOOD - metallic berry with silver glitter
BLISS IN BARCELONA - blueish purple
FOREVER IN FLORENCE - blackened purple with silver glitter
LOVE IN LONDON - not too intense black with silver glitter

I'll have a couple of looks up with this palette in the next few days.

Have you tried anything by Sleek? I know they can be a little hard to get hold of out of the UK.

Thanks for reading!

Winter warmers*

Hello lovelies.

The nights are drawing in and the wind is howling round my windows in the evening more often than not, so all I can think about is cosying up on the sofa with my Kindle and some comfy clothes and slippers on. I'm still undecided about which winter warmers I might buy to help me stay warm and possibly save some money on the heating bills, too.

I have a yen for cosy dressing gowns to wear over my pyjamas (or even over clothes to save on heating bills) and this one looks particularly snuggly.

From Yours Clothing

Pyjamas are something I long to get into after a shower or wash after my tea, and for me they have to have full length trousers and sleeves to be comfy and cosy. This set is also hooded so that's a bonus!

From Yours Clothing

I haven't worn a nightie for a long time because I prefer a really long one, and I hadn't seen any really cute ones recently. Anyone who's a regular reader of my blog will know I have a love affair for all things leopard print so this nightshirt is a dream! This nightie in particular comes in sizes up to an 8X. Brilliant, or what? I love my nightwear really loose and I love knowing this option is there.

From Roamans.

When it comes to slippers I have the same taste as I do in shoes - Mary Jane styles or ballerina flats. These ones below are probably the cutest slippers I've ever seen!

From Roamans.

In the past I have sometimes relied on outdoor wear indoors when it gets bitingly cold. The bills are forecast to go up by about another 10% this winter, so if I'm going to look silly indoors, I may as well do it in style, eh?

From Peacocks

I love these gloves as I could use them as fingerless gloves when I'm using the laptop (I suffer with numb hands a lot in winter) and then when I go out I could fold the flaps over to turn them into mittens.

From Peacocks

How are you planning on keeping warm this autumn/winter?

Do you like anything you see here?

Thanks for reading.

*Sponsored post.