November 02, 2015

Mini Beauty Haul

Trying to blog on a fairly regular basis whilst doing university work is not easy in the slightest bit. I don't know how on earth some people manage it. So here's my feeble attempt at a new blog post which is a small beauty haul. Yesterday afternoon I headed into town to meet up with two of my old friends from school and have some lunch. Typical for me lunch somehow turned into picking up a few beauty products.

Simple Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser

I always use Simple moisturiser as it's a brand I really do trust when it comes to skincare. I normally go for the light hydrating version however as the weather is getting colder I know my skin will benefit more from the rich replenishing version as it's a lot thicker and has 3 skin loving ingredients rather than the 2 that the light version does. This bottle normally retails of £3.99 however it was on sale so I managed to pick it up for £1.95.

Primark False Lashes - Natural and Intense

Next up I picked up these two sets of false lashes from Primark. I'm not the best at putting on false lashes. In fact, I am terrible at it. However I find that the Primark lashes are very light and easy to apply. They don't feel heavy on the lid and they feel quite comfortable to wear. I've tried both the Natural and the Sultry lashes but I'd never seen the Intense ones before so I decided to pick them up too. All packs of lashes come with a tube of adhesive so you don't even need to worry about purchasing any glue. £1 for a pack of lashes is amazing! I think I'll do a review on these sometime soon.

Maybelline Colour Show - So So Fresh

Now that I have nails I'm quickly becoming addicted to buying nail polish and experimenting with colour. I've tried Rimmel and Barry M but I've not branched out to any other brands yet so I decided to pick up shade So So Fresh from Maybelline's Colour Show range. These retail for around £2.99 and there are a whole range of colours.

Primark Beauty - Eyeliner x 2 and Sharpener

The final item I picked up was this pack of 2 black eyeliners which comes with a little pencil sharpener. Other than the lashes and the nails I've not used any other Primark beauty items so this will be my first. I believe these were also just £1 so I hope they're good. 

October 24, 2015

Homeware Wishlist

I've been getting really into interior design lately and here a selection of a few items that I really want to pick up as soon as I get some money. I've got to say I'm really impressed with the home ware stuff in Asda at the moment especially their Luna themed collection! 

October 20, 2015

Easy Chocolate Biscuit Recipe

I've had this post stored away in my drafts for a while now as it's one I started working on in July before the whole hospital fiasco, so I figured it was about time I finally got round to publishing it. So admittedly this recipe was more a case of experimenting in the kitchen and seeing what the end result was. What was supposed to be Toffee Crisp Cookies sort of ended up being chocolate biscuits instead which made me feel ever so slightly reluctant to share the recipe, however they did taste really good so I decided to post it anyway. They're so easy to make and if you're anything like me and never have a cupboard stocked with baking ingredients then it's a pretty ideal recipe as it only involves a few ingredients (most of which you should probably have lying about anyway) 

You will need:

1 Cup of Flour (150g)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup of Sugar (I would recommend caster but granulated sugar is all we had)
2 - 3 Tablespoons of Nutella

and any additional ingredients you'd like to add, I decided to add in some chopped up pieces of Toffee Crisp for some extra flavour and crunch.  

First you want to pre-heat your oven to 180C. Then grab a mixing bowl and pour in your flour.

After that you then want to add in your sugar and your scoops of nutella. I added around 2 - 3 tablespoons.

After that crack one egg into the bowl and mix it all together until you have smooth consistency. Then feel free to add in whatever extra ingredients you want. I chopped up a toffee crisp bar and added in little chunks of that and then mixed it all together.

Grab a baking tray and line it with a sheet of baking paper. After mixing the dough to evenly distribute chunks of toffee crisp, you then want to roll tablespoon sized balls out and squash them down with a glass to create that flat biscuit shape. 

Then just simply place in the oven for 12 minutes and leave them to cool.

There you have it! A simple easy to follow recipe with minimal products involved. My only advice for this would be to make your biscuits larger and wider rather than small and thick, as the larger ones are more like a cookie whereas the small ones end up quite hard and crunchy. 

October 19, 2015

Beauty Haul

It's been a little while since my I last did a beauty post on here but I recently popped into town to repurchase some of my everyday make-up products that had ran out and I also managed to pick up a few new bits to try out. I'll probably do more of an in depth review of some of these products later on but for now here's a little round up of everything I bought.

Tanya Burr Cosmetics Peachy Glow Palette - £8

I'd seen a few bloggers post about the new Tanya Burr Cosmetics Palettes that had recently launched however I never intended to purchase any of them up until I recently popped into Superdrug and saw the last remaining Peachy Glow palette. As soon as I'd picked it up to look at it I knew I had to get it. This palette contains a bronzer, a blusher and a highlighter. So far I am yet to try the highlighter however the bronzer and blusher are beautiful and I have now incorporated these shades into my everyday make-up look. I'm definitely interested to try some more products from this collection.

PS Design Nails - 50p

I've purchased false nails from Primark before and I only got round to wearing one set very briefly as this was around the time I used to bite my nails and therefore didn't have any so I found wearing false nails just too weird and took them off within an hour of having them on. Over the summer I managed to stop biting my nails and now have some lovely nails of my own but I just couldn't resist picking up these cute pineapple print ones, especially as they were reduced to just 50p! I can't wait to give these a go and hopefully they will feature on my blog sometime soon.

Rimmel London Wake Me Up Foundation - £8.99 

This is hands down one of my favourite foundations that I have ever tried. I think I'm still yet to find the perfect pale foundation for me but this one is pretty close to my skin tone. It's a very light, easily blendable foundation with subtle shimmer throughout it which helps give your skin a very healthy looking glow. This is my second bottle of this foundation now as I found that my first one did last a few months so although almost £10 for a drugstore foundation does seem a bit much, it definitely is worth it.

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mega Volume Mascara -  £8.99

Next up is another repurchase, I'm pretty sure this is my favourite mascara that I have ever tried. Although I really hate spending the £8.99 on it, I do find it's one of the only mascara's that gives me a noticeable boost in the height of my lashes and also does a really good job at lengthening them without getting too clumpy or thick.

Rimmel London 60 Second Super Shine by Rita Ora (Shade Peachella) - £2.99 

As I've recently grown my nails I've been enjoying buying nail polish for the first time and actually experimenting with nail art. One of the first shades I picked up was this one from the Rita Ora collaboration with Rimmel London. This is a beautiful peach colour which I'm very much looking forward to trying when I get round to it. 

Rimmel London 60 Second Super Shine (Shade Caramel Cupcake) - £2.99

This is one of the nail polishes I picked up that I actually have tried. Caramel Cupcake is a really nice nude / mauve kind of colour which I think I'll get a lot of wear out of. It's really quick drying which is great for me as I'm pretty terrible at smudging my nail polish however I do find that this chips quite easily. 

Barry M Aquarium Nail Paint (Shade Pacific) 

The final thing I picked up was this Barry M Nail Paint from the Aquarium collection. For as long as I can remember I've been looking at this nail polish nearly every time I've nipped into Superdrug and now I finally have nails I could justify picking it up. I have tried this one out already and I have to say I was slightly disappointed with it. This polish takes a few layers to actually build up an intense colour and I don't believe the colour looks as nice as it does in the bottle. 

October 11, 2015

Freshers Week

Freshers is the most highly anticipated event of any young persons life. The idea of moving out, making new friends and doing nothing but dressing up and partying for two weeks is undoubtedly very exciting. I was unable to do re-freshers this year as I'm recovering from surgery still so I thought I'd do a little post reminiscing about my freshers week.

I started off freshers with literally no money whatsoever so I ended up going to the local convenience store and getting the cheapest drinks I could get my hands on and making some truly unforgivable concoctions in the hopes of getting really drunk on a tight budget. (Strawberry Lambrini and Vodka anyone?) Not only was I drinking absolute rubbish but I was eating it too. I was too lazy to cook most days so I either didn't eat as "eating is cheating" or I ate cake. Yes that's right cake for dinner. (Living the dream)

Freshers itself involved playing a lot of drinking games. Mostly ring of fire which I had never played before in my life so needless to say I think I was pretty annoying having to ask what every card meant. Still to this day I can't remember the rules but maybe that's just a sign that I was already drunk enough when they were being explained to me. 

My freshers involved quite a few themed nights so dressing up was a must. I probably spent a little bit too much money on buying my fresher outfits hence why I ended up with £10 to pay for drinks, taxi rides and junk food for the first week until my loan came in. Let me tell you now that £10 is NOT enough for multiple nights out. I was always the one getting out of paying for a group taxi (sorry guys) and I was always willing to accept a drink but not buy that person one back (sorry once again) and when that loan money finally dropped in my bank account I almost cried tears of joy. I could now buy my end of night cheeseburger and 6 nuggets without feeling guilty.

When I first embarked on my freshers week I was determined to make every event. Start as you mean to go on and what not. However I had to give myself 3 days off from partying as I just couldn't hack it, especially as I was going out in 6 inch heels every night and doing a ridiculous amount of slut dropping. Although I did go to as many nights as possible as it was quite exciting going out when everyone was in high spirits and chanting "T R E N T - WE ARE THE TRENT ARMY

Freshers was an interesting experience to say the least and it did teach me a two lessons;

1. Save some money as it can be pricey

and most importantly..

2. Don't expect to stay friends with the people you meet in freshers week (chances are you will occasionally pass them in uni and it will be super awkward and neither of you will say anything)

October 03, 2015

Invisible Illness Awareness Week #GoodAndBadDays

The 28th of September marked the beginning of Invisible Awareness Week and it also happens to be the same time Crohn's and Colitis UK are running their #GoodAndBadDays campaign where people fighting Inflammatory Bowel Disease post images of themselves during times of remission and flares. As I want to continue raising awareness and helping support this charity I felt like it was only fitting that I make another blog post regarding my fight with Crohn's disease.

These pictures show a variety of my good and bad days. The first image was November time last year where I was unaware I was ill. The second image shows the medication I was on at one point during this summer where I was in a short period of remission (1 Omeprazole, 1 Azathioprine and 5 Prednisolone) The 3rd photo is an image of me in the intensive care unit, 1 day after having 16 inches of my small intestine removed. I had been injected with a high dose of steroids 4 times a day for a period of two weeks which lead to my face becoming incredibly puffy and round. I'm also very drugged up with Morphine in this image which is why I look slightly out of it. The fourth image is a photo of my surgical scar - as you can see the bottom of the incision began filling up with fluid which has since burst and left an open hole in my stomach. However it is now almost healed up. The 5th image shows me having an iron infusion, something which may have to become a regular thing if I continue to experience problems absorbing iron. The 6th photo is a recent photo of myself, I'm currently in remission and I feel the best I have in a long time.

Crohn's is a horrible, degrading, invisible illness with no cure. Looking at the first photograph with my hair done and a full face of make-up, you would have no idea that I was chronically ill. You wouldn't be able to guess that inside my small intestine would be incredibly inflamed causing horrific abdominal cramps and not absorbing any nutrients from the food I was consuming - leaving my body malnourished and weak. On the outside I appear normal which is what makes an invisible illness so difficult as it makes it harder for people to understand and sympathize with what you're going through as they can't physically see it. I'm thankful that the people closest to me have been there to witness my struggles as they now understand my illness and just how it affects me, both mentally and physically. Invisible Illness Awareness week is an important reminder not to judge people based on what you can see as you never know what that individual is going through. 

If you can find it in yourself to help support people like me and put money towards research into finding a cure or alternative forms of treatment then please text DAYS22 plus your amount to 70070 to donate to Crohn's and Colitis UK. Thank you!

August 20, 2015

Living with Crohns Disease - My Story

It's been a while since I last posted anything on my blog and that's because I very recently experienced a flare up of my Crohns disease which resulted in me being admitted back into hospital and going through a serious, life changing operation. I decided I wanted to blog about my experience with Crohns disease - I want to raise awareness for this terrible disease and I want to help others who may be in a similar position. So just a warning, this is going to be a long post, it's going to be very personal and it is going to touch on topics which some people will find embarrassing to discuss. I want to be honest and I want to tell my story. 

What is Crohns Disease?

Crohns Disease is a long term condition which causes inflammation of the digestive system. Inflammation can effect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the back passage but it mostly occurs in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon).

Symptoms include;
Abdominal Pain
Weight Loss
Blood and Mucus in your stool

It is currently unknown as to why people develop this disease and there is no cure at this moment in time. There are however a few methods of treatment to help control the disease, such as steroids, infusions, injections etc and of course there is the option of surgery. It is estimated that roughly 7 out of 10 people with Crohns disease will require surgery at some point.

With Crohns it is very easy to become anaemic as your body won't be absorbing nutrients from the food you consume. Fistulas and ulcers are also quite common. Crohns can also lead to problems with joints, skin, eyes, bones, liver, blood circulation and slightly increases your chance of bowel cancer.

What Causes Crohns? 

Despite research being done the exact cause of Crohns disease is not known. Researchers believe there's a strong link between the genes you've inherited and an abnormal reaction of the immune system to certain bacteria in the intestines (which they think may have something to do with environmental factors) Viruses, smoking, diet, bacteria and stress have all been suggested as possible triggers although there is no solid evidence that any of these cause Crohns.

My Story
Midway through 2014 I began noticing I was having occasional mild stomach cramps that always seemed to start in the evening. Some nights I experienced them, some nights I didn't so I didn't think too much of it and put it down to uncomfortable bloating or snacking too much. It wasn't really until I started uni that I began realising these stomach pains were becoming really frequent and I was having them pretty much everyday. Freshers week in particular I noticed that I felt really sore and that my body physically ached. My stomach was incredibly unsettled and (embarrassingly) I was visiting the toilet more frequently. Once again I put it down to simply overdoing it during freshers week with poor diet and too much drink. Then as my stomach pains continued during the uni year and I started experiencing them in the day time too, I put it down to Social Anxiety and then stress.

Things then escalated and I noticed that whilst eating certain foods I would feel the urge to gag and throw up. Although it would never actually result in physically throwing up, I would always gag on certain textures of food. Anything potato / bread based seemed to trigger it at first. I've always been a fussy eater so I convinced myself that it was just me being awkward with food. Fast forward to February / March 2015 and I noticed that I had lost weight and had dropped from a comfortable size 8 to a size 6. I was now 6 and a half stone.

In my last term of university I experienced my first ever full on Crohns flare and dropped to 6 stone. Almost all food made me feel ill, sometimes the smell alone was enough to make me feel sick. Anything I ate I began throwing up almost instantly. My stomach cramps became even more intense and I'd wake up multiple times in the night with sharp shooting pains and covered in sweat. I felt tired all the time, I'd come in from uni, sit down to do my work and fall asleep instantly. I began feeling really weak and even the slightest physical activity would leave me completely breathless. I couldn't stand for very long so if I was out doing food shopping, I'd have to regularly squat down to take a break and pretend to look at stuff on the bottom shelf so I didn't look odd. I had sores on the corners of my mouth, I was incredibly pale and my heart was constantly beating fast. To any of you reading this you may be thinking "Why didn't you take yourself to the doctors?" well as someone who has never really experienced being ill throughout their lifetime, I was pretty stubborn to admit that something was wrong and that I needed help. I put my education first and decided I would go to the doctors once I'd finished my first year of uni. Stupid? Yes. I put my life at risk for something so silly considering whatever grade you achieve in first year does not actually count towards your degree.

My mum and boyfriend had both noticed how sick and frail I looked and began worrying about me. My mum was convinced I was anorexic and decided to contact the doctors about me without my knowledge. She arranged an appointment for me once I returned from uni and I agreed to go. When I returned from university, my health declined and I physically couldn't even stand for more than a minute. I couldn't even shower, I just lay on the couch writhing around in agony with a hot water bottle. After a few trips to the doctors and some blood work being done, I was told my bloods came back abnormal and I was admitted to the hospital to run some tests and receive some form of treatment.

After waiting four hours in A&E I was finally called through and seen by a nurse. She inserted a cannula, took some blood, requested a urine sample, weighed me, took me for x-rays and did a rectal exam and that was it for the night. The next morning a bed became available and I was moved to a ward where I was put on fluids for a while. I met with multiple doctors who questioned me about lots of different things and felt my stomach. They then sent me for a CT scan, requested that I had an iron infusion and took more blood. After waiting a little while a doctor came back and informed me that the CT scan revealed that it wasn't bowel cancer like they first feared, but was instead severe Crohns disease. It was a relief at first to finally have a diagnosis, but then when I actually started looking more into the full extent of what Crohns disease can do, I became incredibly upset. I also felt really cheated, no-one in my family has the disease, I don't smoke, I rarely drink and my diet is pretty normal. I didn't understand why I had it.

I was sent home the same day with an 8 week course of steroids (Prednisolone). For the first week I still felt uncomfortable, however after that first week the steroids began kicking in and I started to feel much better. My pain eased off, and I began eating normally again. Anyone who is familiar with Prednisolone will know that it drives your appetite through the roof and soon you start eating everything in sight. I started gaining weight and it seemed like everything was getting better. I was soon moved on to Azathiroprine - a drug to help control my Crohns in the long run as steroids are only a short term option. However 2 weeks into taking it, I was back to having stomach pains all day every day. Then my most recent blood test came back bad and I was told to return to hospital to receive treatment.

 Rather reluctantly I returned to the hospital on the 21st of July. At first I was told I'd be in for a few days whilst I had some steroids and fluids administered through IV. However, my inflammation refused to respond to any of the treatment and my condition began to deteriorate. It was after one night where my temperature shot up and my heart rate increased rapidly and there was a minor scare that I had an obstruction of the bowel that the decision was made for me to undergo surgery. My consultant decided that I should undergo a bowel resection, where they would remove the part of my small intestine where all the damage was and would connect the two healthy pieces of bowel together. Although there was no confirmation that this would definitely be the case. If upon inspection the damage was so bad they would create a temporary stoma instead. For those of you who don't know what a stoma is it's basically where they create an opening in your abdomen and join the bowel to that so you excrete through that hole and into a bag which attaches to your skin.

The thought of surgery terrified me. I was so upset that I spent the 2 days prior to my operation in a flood of tears. I didn't want to be scarred, I didn't want to be cut open and have my insides messed around with and I didn't want to wake up to find I had a stoma. It sounds so silly as I should have been grateful that they were going ahead with a life changing operation that would benefit my quality of life but instead I was scared of silly little issues such as would my boyfriend still find me attractive or would I ever be confident with my body again? On Saturday the 1st of August I was taken down for my surgery. I can honestly say that being wheeled into the operating room was the scariest moment of my life, I've never felt fear like it. The whole surgical team were lovely, they instantly calmed me down and helped distract me. They inserted a cannula into my hand, put an oxygen mask on my face and administered the general anaesthetic and that was me. My surgery lasted approximately four hours.

The next thing I knew, I was being woken up by either some nurses or surgeons (I can't quite recall) and I was in a lot of pain. The first thing I said was "Bag?" in which I was referring to did they need to create a stoma? Which they answered no. I then said "Pain" and passed back out. Later on I woke back up to find I was being wheeled to the intensive care unit. I could barely keep my eyes open but my parents and my boyfriend came to see me and comfort me for a few minutes before they had to leave. I was kept in intensive care for two days as there was a slight complication with the intravenous morphine pump that they inserted during surgery which is why I initially woke up in so much pain. When I fully came round I could see I had a large dressing in the middle of my stomach and a drain bag on the right side of stomach that was filled with blood and some sort of yellow fluid. The day after my surgery I was only allowed sips of water and was made to get out of bed and sit in the nearby arm chair. It was exhausting and incredibly painful but you have to get around and move to help blood flow and to kick start your recovery. I spent most of this day completely off my face on morphine, to the point where I could barely keep my eyes open. The next day I was allowed soft food so I was given soup, ice cream and one of my special nutritional drinks. I was relying on the morphine pump less so I was later then moved out of intensive care and into a surgical ward instead where later that night I was able to get out of bed by myself and walk without any assistance.

On the 5th of August I was discharged from hospital and allowed home. I had spent 16 days there in total and was so relieved to finally be back home with my family and my dog. Since coming home my recovery has been coming along rather nicely. My staples have been removed, my drain hole on my right side has closed up, I've been able to progress from a soft diet back to a fairly normal diet and my strength is slowly returning. I'm not going to lie and say that surgery was a walk in the park as it really has took it's toll on me emotionally and the physical recovery process itself is at least 12 weeks, however - I can honestly say that it was the best thing for me as I instantly felt relief from the pain of Crohns. The mild aches I've experienced from surgery are nothing in comparison to the pain I felt from Crohns. I can now enjoy food again, I can eat without fear of pain and that is a wonderful feeling.

I still have a very long road ahead of me in terms of recovery, and there is always the chance that Crohns can re-appear in another part of the bowel but for now I'm pain free and happy so I'm going to enjoy it whilst it lasts and try not to focus too much on "What if's?" I plan on going back to university in October and continuing on with my studies. I don't want this illness to stop me from living my life and I certainly don't want it to define who I am as a person.

July 15, 2015

Slicked Back - Photoshoot

Here's another shoot from my recent university project. This set is entitled "Slicked Back" and is probably my most favourite set of images to date. I had some really amazing feedback from my fellow peers on this which was so amazing to hear as I normally feel like studio work is my weak point. Overall I'm so happy with the end results and can't wait to put these in my own personal portfolio! 

Model: Sanya @ Model Students Agency
Photography and Styling: Myself
MUA: Sanya

July 13, 2015

OOTD #27

I recently jumped on the sleeveless blazer bandwagon after initially being really against them. I picked up this little white one from Cameo Rose - a label stocked in New Look. Most of the white sleeveless jackets I've seen retail for about £30 - £40. This however, only cost £19.99, plus I was able to get student discount on it too so I ended up getting a really good deal on it! I wasn't 100% sure how I'd find styling the blazer as I have nothing in my wardrobe remotely like this, however I've been wearing it a lot recently and find styling it very easy. It smartens up the simplest of outfits, just like this one which consists of a really basic black dress and some sandals! 

Cameo Rose Sleeveless Blazer - New Look
Black Ribbed Bodycon Dress - New Look
Black Chunky Sandals - New Look
Round Sunglasses - Primark
Black Bucket Bag - Primark

July 12, 2015

My Week In Photos #6

Once again I'll admit this isn't the most exciting round up of photos. It seems that whenever my boyfriend is working I don't really do anything! I did however do a little bit of cooking, tried pub golf for the first time (although admittedly didn't do a lot of drinking due to my condition) and I visited an adorable local cafe which I plan on doing a blog post about very soon! 

1. Cooking Sweet Chilli Chicken for my mum and my boyfriend

2. Made Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

3. New Missguided top

4. Tuna Mayo Sandwich and PewdiePie

5. Making my own fancy little jar of Fruit Infused Water 

6. Pub Golf Score Card

7. Pub Golf Team


9. Visiting Tea Jenny Cottage