Product review: N-Spa Body Butters

Nirvana Spa has recently overhauled its N-Spa range of bath and body products, which has both good and bad points.

The products themselves seem nicer, and I like the introduction of more citrus-y flavours, but I’m sad they’ve got rid of my favourite (Blueberry) and the chocolate-y, sweet-y flavours. The range is also much more limited, going from 7 or 8 fruit and 5 or 6 chocolate flavours, to just 5 or 6 fruit flavours – and not every product is in every flavour! I would happy buy lots of grapefruit or passionfruit body butter, but they just decided not to do a body butter for these, just body lotion. I hate body lotion with a passion.

Anyway, I happen to have one of both the new and old style body butters to compare today. Here they are:

The old style on the left, and the new on the right.

You can see the new style, which I much prefer to the older one, though I will miss the strange ‘The wise man says…’ on the bottles.* It’s also obvious from just looking at them that the new formulation is much more like a body butter than a lotion, whereas the old one is very wet. What’s very strange is that I had two sets of old-style body butter minis for Christmas, and they were perfect, thick and buttery and really nice. I don’t understand why the larger tubs are so wet!

I’m currently really struggling to finish the blueberry butter before I can move on to the mango one. They both smell divine, but when it comes down to it, the old formulation just doesn’t do it for me. It leaves me feeling sticky and I don’t think it ever really sinks in, since it never leaves my skin as soft as others. The new formulation is comparable to the Body Shop’s butters, which is great, since it sells for £3, less than a quarter of the price! The only downside, as far as I can see, is the very limited range of scents it comes in (mango, raspberry, coconut, and shea butter). Luckily, I love the first two, but I’m not the hugest fan of coconut or shea butter…

Tempted? I can definitely recommend the new style butter! My arms now smell like mangoes and this makes me very happy 🙂

 

 

 

 

*”Inspiration”, said the wise man “springs from blue skies and a purple patch. Sitting under the stars at midnight you might see the indigo light and discover the answer in velvet smooth exterior. And perhaps… when daylight comes we shall taste vitality in a delicious burst of superberry inside.” I mean, what?

I’m happy!

I am in an unusually good mood tonight. Here are five things that are making me happy right now.

1. My new dress. It’s exactly what I had in mind for my Belle costume (see below), and also works beautifully on its own for a night out.

2. Camomile tea with apple and cinnamon. This smells like autumn – I love cinnamon, especially with apples, and this makes me feel ready for Bonfire Night and scarves.

3. New boots arriving tomorrow (hopefully to appear in a post of their own tomorrow) from Next. Finally a pair of go-with-everything winter boots!

4. My gorgeous, lovely and wonderful boyfriend, who’s currently being ever so supportive about my play. He never fails to cheer me up if I’m down, so imagine what he does to me when I’m already in a good mood! (Plus he bought dinosaur cookie cutters. I mean, wow.)

5. For the first time all day, I’m warm. It took two pairs of socks and holding a mug of boiling water, but none of my fingers or toes feel like they’re going to fall off.

I hope you’re having as nice a night as I am 🙂

Outfit of the Day: 25th September

A slightly strange one today. I’m in costume!

I had my eBay parcel this morning, and it was the dress for my Belle costume!

Oxford is very VERY keen on fancy-dress college parties, known as ‘bops’. We all dress up to a theme and head out to a club, which is booked by one, two or sometimes three colleges for exclusive use. It’s a fantastic way to party, especially if you’re not much for clubbing (like me) because you don’t like the crush of random strangers trying to feel you up. It’s much, much friendlier!

The first bop of the year at my college is always themed to the college initials. Previously I’ve been as Boudicca and Bowie (both red-headed costumes!), but now I have brown hair again I thought I’d try a costume I have always wanted to do: Belle from Beauty and the Beast. So I tried on my dress, and I love it so much I never want to take it off!

Dress: Karma Clothing (on eBay)

Shirt: H&M

(this is actually my sub-fusc shirt, which is the uniform we have to wear when we take exams, so I might have to buy a new one in case it gets messy. Bops do get messy.)

Apron: Actually just a white pashmina carefully pinned. I’ll cut it to the right shape later.

The hair is all mine, and will require a little more styling, ’cause I have too many fringy bits to go into Belle’s loose ponytail. Belle doesn’t look like she’s wearing any make-up, but being a cartoon character, has way redder lips than me naturally, so I went for a very simple look for the face, with red lips (Max Factor Lipfinity Pen in Royal Plum), and just basic brown eyeliner and shadow (No7 and Chilli Pepper, respectively).

Nails are Rimmel Perfect Plum (not relevant, just what I had on yesterday), and the book is ‘The Fifth Form at St Dominic’s’ by Talbot Baines Reed, because it caught my eye on the shelf!

I really love this costume. The dress isn’t quite the right colour, or shape at the top, but that doesn’t matter too much, and obviously it’s far too short, but it’s a bop costume. We go to clubs. I’m not going in a midi skirt!

Things I’ll miss in Oxford #1

This bad boy. This is my Sherlock Holmes picture, and it is giant. As a reference, that little photo on the right (d’aww, Boyfriend and I being cute at the ball) is a standard 6″ by 8″ photo. Sherlock is biiiig.

It would have to be, since it’s not just a picture, but also…

THE WHOLE OF THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.

Yep. This is from Spineless Classics, which take the text of a book and make it into artwork. It was a birthday present from my parents last year, and I love it to pieces.

But it’s just too big for my new room 😦  I have next to no wall space, and what I do have is slanty, since I’m on the top floor.

So poor Sherlock has to stay here at home, and I have to be unHolmesed in Oxford. That definitely means I can take all the books, right? 😀

The Trouble with Glitter

That title makes this sound like a heartwarming film about a lady of the night’s amusing escapades, I fear. Instead, it is the glitteriest nail polish review you’re likely to see today!

This is Barry M 340, otherwise known as Aqua Glitter.

Say hello, Barry M 340.

This is a beautiful clear polish filled with tons of turquoise glitter. I love Barry M, and I love glitter, and I love turquoise. Should be good, right? And I did love this on my hands. For the first five minutes.

The Trouble with this Glitter.

1. It needs many many layers to reach a bottle-colour saturation. This is one coat Rimmel Azure, then three or four coats of glitter depending on the size of the nail. This isn’t a massive problem, but is a bit too fiddly for me for every day wear, because:

2. It takes FOREVER to dry. Thank goodness for fast-dry topcoat.

3. It is a real nuisance to photograph. This polish is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had on my nails, but I could not get one picture where it looked true to life in colour or shininess.

4. Actually, lets talk about the shininess. The above photo is with a coat of Nails Inc Kensington Caviar fast dry topcoat, for speed but also because glitters are really rough to the touch (problem 5?). Before that, the glitter was sparkly, yes, but in a kind of matte way. It just felt a bit flat and muted, rather than this in-your-face sparkle.

5. It falls off. Seriously. I had this on my nails for half an hour before it started to peel back at the tips. This might have been my application (maybe I should have fast-dried every layer of the glitter individually, or maybe my basecoat wasn’t totally dry), but, do you remember that peel-off nail polish from when you were little? This was exactly like that. It SLID off my nails. It was so stretchy that where a normal polish would have chipped on the tips, it pushed down into a little hump in the middle of my nail.

BUT (and it’s a big but):

This is just an absolutely beautiful thing to wear. I mean, just look at it.

Look at that colour!

Look how sparkly!

How could that not make you happy?? (apart from when it all falls off)

My conclusion, then, is that I adore this colour and the glitteriness (when topcoated!), but I won’t be attempting it a) on short notice, or b) anytime I want it to last. Perfect for nights out, I think.

 

And it did make me feel like a mermaid.

Outfit of the Day: 22nd September

It is officially autumn, hooray. I adore autumn. I like puddles and autumn colours and jumpers and the heating coming on and the start of the good TV programmes and hot chocolate and everything.

I always used to hate dressing for autumn, though. I had no idea how to layer, and just threw a big bulky hoody over the same boring pair of black jeans or grey cord miniskirt and black tights. No fun at all.

But I understand autumn now – and I have a whole new wardrobe to show it 🙂

Here’s what I wore yesterday, on a crisp but sunny autumn day out in town with my boyfriend:

Cropped for red eye. This was the nicest photo of my outfit, but my face was terrifying!

Okay, so that is a cord miniskirt and black tights, but it’s a blue cord miniskirt! Both the jumper and skirt are from H&M, which have pretty much provided my whole autumn wardrobe. I have this skirt in two colours (blue and orange) and want to buy the burgundy one, which they didn’t have in my size (boo), and this jumper in blue and burgundy, and a similar cable knit jumper in grey and turquoise.

I’m wearing my Accessorize ring, to feature in a jewellery post next week, hopefully, and my TARDIS necklace, which you can’t see ’cause I forgot to pull it out of the jumper. That looks like this:

Excuse the cleavage!

My lovely TARDIS was a Christmas present from Boyfriend, and I wear it almost every day  🙂

I also wore my incredible sand-coloured suede boots, which I forgot to get a picture of, but might edit in tomorrow. My feet ache like crazy today!

Are you excited to start layering up for autumn? I can’t wait for it to be scarf weather, I’m looking forward to breaking those out of the wardrobe!

 

Satisfaction.

Since childhood I’ve collected things, all of which seemed terribly important at the time, which means I now have various boxes of *things* taking up space in my room. As someone who effectively moves house every nine weeks, and is looking to move out in the next couple of years, after uni, I do feel that I have too much stuff.

Past collections of mine include:

– Beanie babies (in a box in the loft)

– Other soft toys (some gone, some in a box in the loft)

– Cat figurines (in a box in the loft)

– Owl figurines (in a box in the loft)

– Anything with badgers on (in a box in the loft)

– Keyrings (mostly thrown out when we moved two years ago)

– Picture frames (mostly gone now, except for one or two)

– Dragon figurines (in a box under my bed)

Most of this stuff means very little to me now; although I would obviously keep one or two pieces that were sentimental, I think I could stand to get rid of a lot of the figurines and ornaments I’ve collected, especially since my far more important book collection means I have very little shelf space to display things!

And it’s not even ‘collections’ of things. I recently chucked out four blankets, leaving me with only five or six. Okay, I hate being cold, but that’s excessive. I have an overflowing fancy-dress box (although I am heavily involved in a pantomime society at Oxford, I could probably outfit an entire cast from my box). I have more cushions than surfaces to put them on, and more notebooks than I could possibly ever write in.

I want to have fewer things. I think it would be easier to enjoy the things I love. It would probably be healthier for me (I constantly feel like I have a cold in my room at home, from all the dust).

I could never be a minimalist. I do like pretty things. But I’m sick to death of this maximum clutter.

I propose a new beginning – to satisfaction. Taken from the Latin satis (enough) but also using the whole word’s meaning: having enough and no more, and being happy with that.

Have you got any tips for decluttering and sorting out stuff? I declutter very often, and have donated huge sackfuls to the charity shop, but never seem to make any headway, and always have too much stuff! What’s your style – minimalist, stuff-lover, somewhere in between?

Something(s) borrowed…

I’m the first to admit I have a bit of a book addiction. I love everything about books: the stories they have to tell, the feel of them in my hands, the smell – new or old!, the way they look in stacks and on shelves… Pretty much everything. I also love acquiring them, and since I’m not rich enough to buy all the books I want, I end up borrowing quite a few.

I borrowed lots of books from my best friend to read in the holidays. However, it’s now the end of summer and I’m heading back to Oxford in a little under two weeks, and I’ve only read a few – my own huge TBR (to be read) pile sort of got in the way… This is what I have left to read from the things I borrowed from Emily:

 

The third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and the first three Joe Abercrombie books.

Last week I also borrowed some books from Boyfriend’s housemate (ostensibly so he didn’t have to move them to the new house, really because I am a book magpie), so I should also read those quite soon:

Kim Newman’s take on Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the D’Urbervilles – I’ll be pleased if it’s as fun as Anno Dracula was, with its total mashup of Victorian literature. And Blackout, which seems to be an Oxonian time-travel novel, and which I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

Of course, my book addiction started at home, with my similarly book-loving mother, and we’ve always shared books. She’s lent me books which have turned out to be my very favourites, and which I’ve bought my own copies of for when I’m not at home.

The trouble with our book swapping, though, is that she somehow manages never to have a ridiculous TBR pile like mine (the most hers will hit is about 15, mine is currently at 164). So she reads the books I lend her straight away, whereas I still have tons of things she probably lent me years ago. I’d like to get a lot of these read before I go back, just because I know how much I hate it when my books are out of my hands.

This is what I currently have from her in the TBR pile of doom (there’s definitely others tucked away on my shelves):

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell and The White Raven by Dianna L. Paxson, both from my original King Arthur phase several years ago; Magician by Raymond E. Feist, from my introduction to fantasy lit even earlier than that; the first book of Robin Hobb’s newest series, and a non-fiction book about the birth of the detective and detective fiction. These last two were at least lent to me this year!

That’s quite a lot to read in the next ten days – I think I’ll focus on the books in the top picture, since they were given to me a while ago, and the newer books Mum has lent me, since she probably doesn’t remember that I have the others!

Does anyone else stash books quite so much? Even now, when I know exactly how many hundreds I actually have in my room that need to be read, I can’t help but browse the bookshops and libraries and buy and borrow even more!

I just really like books…

 

 

Only two weeks left!

It hit me at the weekend that there’s only two weeks left til I’m back in Oxford, which caused a small amount of panic. Despite moving into a far smaller room this year, I seem to be short an awful lot of stuff – cue a quick trip to the shops this morning. I am now the proud owner of:

– One alarm clock which has never jumped from the top of a three foot stack of books and dashed its brains out on the floor;

– A few saucepans and frying pans and knives such, which should hopefully allow me to eat in my new (tiny, shared) kitchen. You only get a kitchen at my college if you move out of the main site into the annexe accommodation, which is why I’m only just getting this stuff as a third year!

– Lots of new pens, dividers, paper to add to my teeming boxes of stationery (I own more post-it notes than one girl could ever use, but can never find a pen that works);

– Sundry other bits and bobs like a new black cardigan, black tights, bathroom scales and a towel to leave at Boyfriend’s house.

But my most exciting find was discovered in Morrisons – apparently it’s nearly Christmas, and the Christmas gift sets are out!

What’s in this pretty tin?

Lip balms!

Essential Care, Milk and Honey, Pearly Shine, and Soothe and Protect, to be exact.

£4 is a crazily good price for these little lovelies – the Pearly Shine I picked up the other day was £2.15 on its own. 4 lip balms might seem to be far too many for any one girl (especially since I just bought a new new one), but I always try to have one on me, so they’ll definitely get used. And the pretty little tin will find some sort of use, either for make-up or little desk bits, I think.

There was also a duo of Dove Go Fresh Shower Gels, in Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena, and Plum and Sakura Blossom which I’d love to try, but I’m trying not to buy any more shower gel til I finish the huge bottle of N-Spa gel I have on the go at the moment… I’ll keep an eye out for that.

Now, tell me, internet, what have I forgotten to buy for my return to uni? There’s always something

Tea!

Now, I am an English girl. It might not be much of a surprise to discover that I really like tea.

The size of my tea collection, however, might be a bit of a shock.

Yeah, I *really* like tea.

Starting at the back, there’s Lord Nelson tea granules in Lemon, Peach (and the large Union flag tin is also peach) and Mixed Berry, and in front are some Lord Nelson peppermint teabags. Lord Nelson is Lidl’s tea brand, and I stocked up before I started university two years ago. The granules are pretty good, although by now I’m very fed up of the flavour, the peppermint teabags are okay, but their normal teabags are absolutely terrible!

In the middle flag tin, there’s assorted teabags that I’ve entirely forgotten the flavours of, so that’s a lucky dip. The small tin has sugar cubes and a few little packets. I don’t often take sugar in my tea anymore, so I’ll probably use these for cooking.

Then there’s Twiningsland in the middle: Twinings Pure Peppermint (better than Lord Nelson), Orange and Lotus Flower green tea (a birthday present), Camomile and Spiced Apple, Raspberry Strawberry and Loganberry, and Lemon and Lime (think this is a limited edition).

Bordering Twiningsland is a box of Clipper Assam with Vanilla that I found on a clearance stand once – no wonder, since I’m the only person I know that actually likes it. There’s two individual bags of Yorkshire Gold at the front, which I got for free by joining the Yorkshire Gold club, and they send me a card on my birthday and at Christmas with a teabag in, which is lovely.

Then inside the Moomin tea tin:

Look, little compartments so your tea doesn’t get contaminated!

Well, I made an attempt at some point to label the tea – top left claims to be green tea with apple and pear (again, Twinings), top right is Twinings Peppermint and Eucalyptus and Nettle and Peppermint, and the bottom two are a mystery. I had been using this to store only green and mint teas, but just made a cup using the bottom right teabags and it came out red and strawberry-ish, so that’s obviously no longer true!

I love tea, but I have to say I’ll be glad to finish up some of the things I’ve overstocked and buy some nice new flavours (perhaps ones that I know what flavour they are!). I have to say, I’d rather have Boyfriend’s awesome collection of Whittards teas than these endless tubs of Lidl tea!