Outfit of the Day: 30th March

Happy Easter everyone!

Boyfriend is visiting this weekend, so I took advantage of his superior camera skills to get some shots of what I’m wearing today. I’ve decided it’s spring, never mind the chill in the air, and so I can finally put all those little cream tops I’ve been buying into use!

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Making my life a little more fictional…

Have you ever read a book that struck you so hard it made an impact on you for the rest of your life?

Many, many wonderful heroines influenced me while I was growing up, and I really think that they shaped my personality just as much as did my non-fictional female role models. Matilda showed me that I wasn’t alone in my love of reading; Alanna the Lioness taught me that I could do anything, even in a man’s world; Princess Cimorene showed me it was okay to be outspoken and move outside the crowd; Anne Shirley shared my temper and taste for escapades, but opened my eyes to beauty and goodness and kindness. Elizabeth Bennet, Vianne Rocher, Helena Justina; all these women and more made such an impact on the woman I am today.

But no heroine has ever touched my heart as much as Cassandra Mortmain, the wonderful, utterly real protagonist of I Capture the Castle.

From the first sentence of the book I was smitten with her slightly self-conscious narration. I love the way she describes her surroundings and her family as if they were fictional, and that her frames of reference include so much literature. I love her imagination and her conflicted feelings and her believable teenage behaviour. What I love most about her, though, is that it was always impossible for me not to identify with her – she is like me, and I am like her, ‘consciously naive’ and striving to be grown up and full of romantic ideals learned from literature that don’t quite apply to real life.

What made me think of how much I love Cassandra is that I’ve been wearing my sample of Penhaligon’s Bluebell perfume.

“Can you smell bluebells?” “I can smell heaven.”

The first time Cassandra and Rose smell bluebell perfume, they are in a posh department store in London, utterly in awe of the elegance and shine of the rich and grown-up. It becomes symbolic of a world they do not belong to, and when Rose buys some for Cassandra when she comes into money, it is a defining moment, and one that I wish I could capture for myself. Having a bottle of bluebell scent (“Americans say ‘perfume’ instead of ‘scent’ – much more correct, really; I don’t know why ‘perfume’ should be considered affected in England.”) is for me the romantic ideal of having ‘made it’: having my life together and being grown-up. I long to have that beautiful blue bottle on my dressing table.

Perhaps it’s silly to attach so much meaning to the fictional, but I love the idea of tying my life a little more closely to Cassandra’s, sharing something of hers. Smelling bluebells on my wrists lets me romanticise my life a tiny bit – it lets me be a bit more fictional.

Asha x

Bicester Haul!

This time last week, my mum and I were at Bicester Outlet Village, a ‘shopping village’ full of designer brands (mostly with a focus on fashion and accessories, with a couple of beauty and home shops thrown in). I spent rather a bit too much money, but got some really lovely bargains! This is going to be quite a long post…

Firstly, I picked up some more L’Occitane Shea Butter handcream. I feel like I go on about this too much on this blog, but it really is the best hand cream I’ve ever tried!

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March Empties

First of all, apologies for the varied backgrounds and lightings in these photos – it’s been very dark and wintery at home, so I’ve had to make the most of the natural light wherever I can find it…IMG_1649

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream 30ml, RRP £8 (free with magazine). I’ve already written lots about this wonderful hand cream, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I finished this tube up last Thursday, just in time to head to the L’Occitane outlet at Bicester and pick up three more. This is my ultimate Holy Grail hand cream.

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My Seven Beauty Sins (and why I don’t mind sinning!)

1. I pluck on top of my eyebrows. I am, apparently, descended from wolves, and if I didn’t pluck the tops of my eyebrows, they would very enthusiastically leap up to join my hairline at my temples, and probably start to encroach on my forehead too.

I would actually look like this. A scary thought.

2. I brush my hair while it’s wet. I know it breaks the strands and can cause split ends, but if I didn’t brush my hair two or three times while it was drying, it would knot into a big birds nest and I’d have to wash it again just to get the tangles out!

3. Further to that, I wash my hair in very hot water, the hottest I can get out of the shower. I know it’s not good, but it takes me at least 15 minutes to wash my hair and comb it through, and I refuse to stand under a cold shower for that long…

4. I also take incredibly hot baths, almost too hot to sit in at first. I really struggle to keep warm in the winter, and sinking into a scalding bath is the most wonderful way to keep warm! I counteract the drying effect with slathers of body butter, so I don’t think it’s too bad.

I wish this was my bathtub!

5. I keep eye make up past its recommended date. I’m a student! I can’t afford to be buying new mascara every three months! Plus, I don’t share my make up and I try to keep it hygienic (not pumping mascara in the tube, keeping it all covered in the bathroom, washing brushes) so it can’t be that bad.

6. I tend to pull off false nails and pick off nail polish rather than removing them properly. This one I do actually mind, as I can see what a state it leaves my nails in, so I really need to stop this (although it does stop me biting my nails).

7. This one is slightly outdated in terms of etiquette, but I apply and reapply lipstick in public. I am very paranoid that my lip colour will fade in patches, and with products like the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains which are pretty much lip balms, I don’t think this is too heinous a beauty crime… I draw the line at reapplying anything else though!

I promise I only do it with my hands, though..

What’s the worst thing you do as part of your beauty routine?

Asha x

Mini Haul: Jessica Nail Polish

IMG_1658Returning home for the holidays means returning to my gym and spa membership at Nirvana Spa, which is an excellent thing. Obviously it’s good to get some exercise, but far far better is sinking into the swimming pool-sized jacuzzi, or the scented steam room, or even just having a quiet moment on the heated stone loungers in the faux-Roman tepidarium. Of course, this tranquil haven comes with many opportunities to spend more on top of the exorbitant membership fees: the spa stocks Mii mineral make up, Decleor skin care, their own range of fruity body wash and moisturiser (although they no longer do the lovely sweetie-flavoured things) and my favourite, Jessica nail products. These are fairly expensive, but since there’s no real money involved anywhere in the spa, it’s easy to just swipe your membership card and pretend it’s not linked to your bank account.

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Review: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

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Oh wow. I’d pretty much written off hand cream as something I didn’t need, want, or even like, after years of faffing around with overly-greasy creams like the Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream, or the non-moisturising Soap and Glory Hand Food. Then along came this little freebie with one of my mum’s magazines, which she passed on to me, and I fell in love.

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