Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What do you consider as being "Grown Up"?

Bit of a different post today and, don't worry, I will get back to doing reviews (I've already got an Origins one lined up so watch this space!). This is more of a life/growing up post. I'm at the stage in my life now where I'm in my final year of uni and need to think about what I'm going to do with the rest of my life (as dramatic as that sounds!). I have no idea what job I want to do or where I want to live etc and it's sort of scary.
Lately all I can think about is "settling down", now I don't mean that in a marriage and kids kind of way, I just mean that lately I've been desperate to make a permanent home for myself. The last 18 months, what with living in student accommodation and my Mum moving house several times, I've lived in 4 different houses and I just want a stable place to get settled in. The typical things I think of on, near enough, a daily basis is "I want a cute little cosy house filled with 'Emma things' and I want a puppy"; sounding like a 6 year old at the end there Emma...
But there's even been the most random thoughts in my head, for example, I was in Asda with my Mum earlier and I looked at a coffee machine and my head went "aww I can't wait to have my own kitchen so I can put a coffee machine in it". I'm not even much of a coffee drinker but clearly my head thinks my older self will be. Honestly I could probably buy one now for my student house but it just doesn't feel the same. It's like some switch in my head has decided I need to start thinking about being an adult (which at 20 years old I guess I am anyway) even if I still feel like the most childish individual.

I think what I'm really trying to say is that I feel like I'm on the brink of being thrown into the "real world" and whatever I'm perceiving as being "things adults have and do" are things I'm craving. Apparently to me having a puppy and a coffee machine means I'm an adult! For example one of my uni friends who, had always despised coffee, had just started buying it on her way into uni and for lectures. I asked her why and she said "well I don't know, it's just feels like something I should be doing, all the lecturers turn up with coffee".

So it just made me wonder, what do you guys consider "grown up"? Is it drinking coffee or wine? Investing in a million cushions to smother your future sofa in? I'd love to know your opinions!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Week Review #5: 24th November 2013

Star Wars Trilogy // Uni Night Out // Uni Presentation
Liverpool Countdown // New Boots // Doctors
Breakfast with Mum // I'm a Sucker for Sugar // ASOS Order

How am I on my 5th week review already?! This week seems a bit of a blur to me and, if I wasn't so snap-happy with the camera on my phone, I'd probably have no idea what had happened this week. The main reason is that on Thursday I had to do a presentation (I'll talk more about that in a minute) and it's all I was able to think (and stress) about for the first half of the week.

Anyway, the beginning is always the best place to start so on Monday I had a surprise present from my Dad in the form of the original Star Wars trilogy. Then Monday night me and the Uni Gang went to Glam (in my opinion the best nightclub in Cardiff) to "dance the night away". Those nights are probably one of the things I'm going to miss most when uni is over, I'm far too attached to these guys!
Tuesday I spent creating my uni presentation, which I'd been putting off because I panicked every time I looked at it. Wednesday marked 7 days until me and Roche get to escape Cardiff for a few days to do some shopping and sightseeing in Liverpool (I'll no doubt do a post about that next week!).
Thursday was a busy day! My new boots came in the post, just in time for me to make my way to the doctors (which I seem to be living at atm) and then at 2pm I had my presentation. Anyone who knows me knows I'm the worst public speaker. I get beyond nervous and have panic attacks and in high school it was a well-known fact, by teachers and pupils alike, that if a presentation was set I would be conveniently ill that day. It sort of became a running joke in high school but this uni presentation wasn't one I could dodge. I had to basically do a presentation about what my dissertation is about and how I'm going to do it. I spent the whole time waiting for my turn staring at the door wanting to run straight for it. My uni supervisor even said "Every time I looked at you you were looking at the door, I thought you were going to leave" I simply replied "I was". But I got myself through it and decided to reward myself with an ASOS order as soon as I got home!
Saturday morning I met up with my Mum for breakfast and a wander round the shops and I honestly need to do that more because I really do miss her now that I don't live with her anymore. She also treated me to some Galaxy drinks and when I got home I saw my ASOS order there waiting for me.

Here's the outfit in full:
(Excuse the odd socks!)

And here's the status my boyfriend did after we got out of the presentation room (being lovely as always...):

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Joys (and "Not-So-Joys") of Christmas Shopping

Nothing I like better than seeing my puppy under the Christmas tree
(Last year's photo, don't worry I haven't gone decoration mad yet!)

So Christmas time is very nearly (if not already) upon us and that comes hand-in-hand with the dreaded Christmas shopping. Don't get me wrong I love going around buying presents for people and seeing their faces when they open them, the bit I dread is the first step: thinking of what to get people. With some people you know straight away what you can get them and what they'll love, with others it's not that easy. Even people you know exceptionally well can be difficult to buy for, I'm sure we all know people who, as soon as they want something, they buy it making it hard to figure out what's left in the world that they could possibly want. While others *cough* my dad *cough* without me even having to ask, a month before christmas (or his birthday or father's day) without fail will email me a list of things he wants and I just pick a few from the list. As easy as that makes it I don't like just getting people things they've asked for because, lets face it where's the fun of Christmas if there are no surprises?!

I'm super-organised (borderline OCD) when it comes to lists, lists over the years have become a sort of obsession (yes I've previously made a list of all the lists I needed to be making...). So here are a few tips that have got me through many years of present giving:

1) Make a list (or a brainstorm/spider diagram/mind-map) of all of the things that person likes. It could be anything; music, tv programmes, even colours and patterns (e.g. my housemate loves leopard print so that would definitely go on the list). This could spark some kind of idea and, with the help of key word searching on Amazon/Google/Ebay, you can get some really different ideas. For example: typing "Breaking Bad" into Amazon, within seconds I found, not only the boxsets, but some really cool tshirts, mugs and even one of those bobbleheads that people have in their cars (yes, really!). So you started with a tv programme but don't necessarily have to get anything DVD related. So your friend could be sitting down next to their Breaking Bad bobblehead watching Breaking Bad while wearing their Breaking Bad tshirt, drinking from their Breaking Bad mug...too far?

2) Joke Presents. Now everyone likes a laugh and a surprise so what better way of adding to your gift than getting an additional joke present. Joke presents are rarely expensive but can cause a chuckle and a lot of the time show you've made the time to get them something personal. You could use lists again or think of something off the top of your head but it's always good to think of some of the inside jokes you may have with that person. For example, one year a friend of mine got given a pillowcase with Edward Cullen's face on because she once got with a Robert Pattinson-lookalike and she has forever regretted it. Silly things but it got a smile and a giggle and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

3) Days Out. Presents don't always have to be gift wrapped under the tree (as nice as that is), sometimes a day out after Christmas can be more fun and kind of extends the festive season. Like I'm desperate to go to the zoo so I'd think that was a good present. Another example is my boyfriend supports Liverpool so for his birthday this year I paid for us to stay up there and do a tour of the Liverpool stadium. I don't think any item I could have bought him would have made him as happy as he was while we were up there. 

One last random idea that I like is for your boyfriend/girlfriend you could get them the DVD of every film you saw in the cinema together on your dates (providing they liked the film obviously!). I just think it shows a lot of thought and it's personal, shows that that time meant something to you. Now this may seem excessive if you've been together for like 4 years because that could potentially be a lot of DVDs! But in those cases maybe set a time limit of all the films you've seen in the cinema in the last 6 months or a year etc.

So now I've waffled on for this long, I'd love to know what your Christmas present ideas and tips are for this year?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Week Review #4: 17th November 2013

My new Parka came // Assignment hand-in day // Chocolate overload
Got a 2:1 // Roche's Bitstrip obsession // Thinking I can multi-task
Rugby at Varsity // Star Wars was on TV // Starbucks Sunday

Time for another week review! These weeks seem to be whizzing past me at the moment, feel like it's going to be Christmas before we know it. So, since in the last couple of weeks the temperature has taken a downward turn, I decided to order a Parka from ASOS which came on Monday and I'm in love with it. I'd forgotten what being outside and feeling warm at the same time felt like until now! Tuesday was assignment hand-in day for me at uni and after slaving away all last week I was beyond relieved to hand this one in. That's two assignments down, what feels like a million to go. After the hand in Tuesday, Roche surprised me with a maaaaaassive bar of Galaxy and endless cups of hot chocolate while watching This Is The End (highly recommend it if you love anything Seth Rogan/Jonah Hill). We're such hardcore students; alcohol-fuelled night out after a hand-in? Nahh chocolate and a film it is. Thursday I got my first assignment of third year back which I was desperate for because 1) second year my grades took a turn for the worse and 2) I wanted to see how high the bar was set in third year. I was more than pleasantly surprised with 65% which is a 2:1 and the grade I'm hoping to get when I finish uni in June so to know I'm on track felt amazing. Not sure if any of you have the Bitstrip app but it's becoming a kind of obsession, which usually involves people insulting each other (jokingly) and posting it on Facebook (in the case above Roche taking the piss out of my driving...). Friday was a nothingness day really. I'm really indecisive and didn't know which I wanted to catch up on first; reading* or The Walking Dead, which resulted in me trying (and failing) to multi-task. Saturday me, Roche, my housemate Laura and Nick went to Varsity for food and to watch the rugby. Wales were playing Argentina and, with the final score being 40-6 to Wales, there were some very happy people around Cardiff! After the game I went home and watched Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Roche before making our way to his and then this morning doing some Christmas shopping (and having a much needed Starbucks break!) in town. (As you can probably tell by the name on his Starbucks cup I don't actually call Roche by his first name ever, just to clarify any confusion! haha). I'm starting to feel so Christmassy what with all the lights around town and Christmas songs playing in shops, it genuinely puts me in the best mood. 

Here's a full length picture of my ASOS Parka (in petite, £85). It may sound pricey but the warmth you feel when you're wearing it beyond justifies the price tag!

*Currently Reading: No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.
I can't rave about this author enough, if you like thriller/suspense type books Linwood Barclay is definitely your go-to guy. This is the third book by him I've read; the others being Too Close To Home and Trust Your Eyes. I honestly can't pick a favourite, you never know which way the story is going to go and I find it so difficult to put the books down. If you want well-written suspense novels look no further!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Clothes Wishlist #1

// See end of post for item details //

When I created this blog (albeit not that long ago!) I didn't even contemplate ever doing a clothes post because, honestly, I don't think I possess any kind of dress sense. I'm all for oversized t shirts or baggy jumpers worn over my black matte wetlook leggings or my black disco pants with either ankle boots or my converse. Its safe to say I'm usually not very adventurous, opting for a comfy, easy-to-throw-on, this-took-me-2-minutes look. I like to think I dress semi-grungy and "rock-chick-esque", especially with my cropped leather biker jacket, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part! Saying this I am partial to a girly skater skirt but, and its a concept that baffles my friends, I try to steer clear of "floaty", overly-girly skirts or dresses, simply because I look young anyway and I feel like even more of a little girl in those types of clothes (as much as I would love to wear them!).
I usually live and die in Topshop but for when my student budget doesn't stretch to Topshop prices I branch out to ASOS, Missguided and Boohoo. So above is my current clothes wishlist full of items that I will probably never actually possess but I will lust after from this side of my computer screen. (Apart from the Parka in the last photo which I may have just purchased...oops!) And below are two outfits that I'd love to own:

You may have noticed that there are a few American Apparel items in this post which are definitely not in any way within my student budget but a girl can dream right?!

Items in this post:
1) Noelle Chicago Oversized Tee in Burgundy (Missguided, £12.99)
2) Ceryssa Value Loose Fir Crop Top in Grey (Missguided, £5.49)
3) Giliana Leather & Tweed Dress (Missguided, £24.99)
4) Katherine Oversized Jumper in Berry (Boohoo, £15.00)
5) Lyndsey Cable Knit Super Soft Leggings in Grey (Boohoo, £8.00)
6) ASOS Wool Mix Short Cable Beanie (ASOS, £10.00)
7) American Apparel Easy Sweat Top (ASOS, £50.00)
8) American Apparel Disco Pants (ASOS, £74.00)
9) American Apparel Slouchy T Shirt (ASOS, £30.00)

10) ASOS Petite Khaki Parka (ASOS, £85.00)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Week Review #3: 10th November 2013

Bit of a different "week review" this week. I've got a uni deadline on Tuesday so I've spent the last week slaving over my computer and, as much as I'd love to have been blogging instead, I've been essay writing. So my entire week can be summed up in these four pictures really:
uni work // Vulcan Lounge with Laura // more uni work // films and cwtches with Boyf and his dog

So because my week has been uneventful I thought instead, as it's a Sunday, I'd do a post about my "Sunday Pamper Routine". Every Sunday night, to prepare my skin for the week ahead, I give it a bit of much needed attention, away from my usual daily skincare regime. This pamper session is made up entirely (with the exception of my La Roche-Posay Serozinc) of Origins products, which is quickly becoming my favourite skin care brand.

So I start off with Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash (£18) which targets both oily and dry skin so if you have combination skin this would be perfect for you. I'm not a massive fan of the smell but obviously that's just personal preference and that's honestly its only downfall in my eyes. After using this my skin feels super clean and its very gentle. I have really sensitive skin (or just plain fussy skin as I like to think of it) so there's a lot of products that my skin flat out objects to and I tend to get a reaction. That's not the case with this, or any Origins product I've tried, so I'd definitely give Origins a go if your skin is temperamental like mine.

Next I use Origins Modern Friction Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion (£33). Now this one is a bit pricey and I can't lie I've only got a sample size that came free with another Origins purchase so not sure if I can justify re-purchasing it when I've run out. That being said, this is one of the best facial exfoliators that I've used. You can feel it working (without feeling like you're rubbing sandpaper on your face) and my skin looks so much smoother and brighter after it's scrubbed away all excess dirt or dead skin cells.

Following that I use Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (£22) which is aimed at unclogging pores. I never used to have a problem with my pores but the more makeup I started to wear (and how lazy I used to be with my skincare routine) made them a lot more visible. This mask "does exactly what it says on the tin" as my Nan would say. When you first put it on it comes out quite dark, which makes it easy to see what parts of your face you've missed, then becomes less noticeable as it sinks in and works its magic. I leave it on for about five minutes before removing it with a cloth and hot water (I should probably have mentioned that that's how I removed the last two steps too!). It doesn't leave your skin feeling as tight as other masks, my skin tone looks a lot more even after using it and the next day my pores look visibly reduced.

Then it's time for my La Roche-Posay Serozinc (Review here: http://emmawillz.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/review-la-roche-posay-serozinc.html) which removes any remaining traces of cleanser, scrub or mask that could still be lurking on my skin before my final step. This last step is another mask and quite possibly my favourite ever Origins product. It's Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£22). I apply this before I go to bed and leave it on overnight. It smells amazing and it's heavy enough to feel like it's working but not so heavy that your skin can't breathe or that you feel sticky or clammy. It may seem expensive but it goes a long way and honestly the way your skin feels the morning after using it makes £22 seem like a bargain; hydrated doesn't even cover it. 

Monday mornings are always difficult and, although I dread them, it's probably the best my skin looks and feels all week which, lets face it, makes even the dreariest of Mondays seem ever so slightly better. My skin tone is more even, my face looks brighter, feels smoother, any breakouts appear tamed and pores practically non-existent. 

I can't rave about Origins enough so I'd love to know what your favourite Origins product is?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

John Frieda Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray

What does it claim to do?
"Peroxide lightening formula, with citrus and chamomile, works with heat tools for lightening and brightening blonde hair, up to one and a half shades. Gradually lightens in 3-5 uses. Maximum lightening occurs after no more than 10 uses."

The product warns not to use on natural brown or darker shades of hair, intensively bleached hair (lightened 4-8 shades) or platinum/white shades of blonde hair.

How to use it.
Spray thoroughly through wet hair then, as the spray is heat activated, blow dry your hair. For optimum results follow these steps by using straighteners or curling tongs; the more heat you use the more effective the product will be.

I was at the hairdressers recently when the lady cutting my hair asked if I was a natural blonde. I used my normal "I'm naturally blonde, just not naturally this blonde". I explained that I've only ever used this spray on my hair and she was baffled; she couldn't believe I'd never dyed my hair. This made me realise just how effective this product is and it has made me a lot more confident so thought I had to give it the praise it deserves here. I've used it for almost 2 years now and noticed results after about 2 weeks of using it every day. Since then my hair has gotten even lighter and I couldn't be happier with it. It takes very little effort as all you have to do is give your hair a quick spray all over straight after you've washed it so you're barely adding anything extra to your routine. I don't use it as much as I used to, probably only use it once a week now because, after almost 2 years of use, the colour has built up a lot. My hair is probably the lightest it'll go so I just do a spray every week (mainly on my roots to keep them topped up) and use John Frieda Go Blonder shampoo every time I wash my hair just to maintain the colour I'm at now. I've seen other reviews mention this causing hair damage, however, I've never experienced any sort of damage, despite having used 5+ bottles. These "damage" reviews are in the minority and as long as you follow the instructions and stick to them there's no reason why you should experience any problems. However if you are worried about damage be sure to thoroughly condition hair after shampooing (I use John Frieda Luxurious Volume Conditioner).

Sum Up.
This product gives impressive results with very little effort. It's far cheaper (£6.99, Boots) and less time consuming than dyeing your hair while giving similar results. It may look like a small bottle (100ml) but it actually goes a really long way. It's especially handy for a quick roots top up and I honestly couldn't be without it now but remember it's a gradual process so please don't expect instant results but you will get there!

The next John Frieda spray I'm dying to try is "John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow Out Styling Spray". I already use the conditioner in this range but hopefully this spray can give me some much needed volume.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Week #2: 3rd November 2013

Mum's Moving Day // My dog is ignorant // Liverpool trip with Boyf booked
Scream Movie Night // Pumpkin Carving // Halloween
Heinsenberg! // Football at the pub // Harry Potter Day

Another hectic week and it would be just my luck that my first week off from uni in ages I spend feeling beyond ill. So my week consisted of going and helping my Mum move house which also meant getting to see my dog Millie who does a really good job of ignoring I exist most of the time! On Tuesday me and my boyfriend Roche had a "Breaking Bad and Dominos Pizza" lazy day and booked our trip to Liverpool for a few days at the end of November. Then to get in the Halloween spirit me and my housemate Laura watched Scream (which I may or may not have fallen asleep in, oops!). Halloween was spent carving Pedro the Pumpkin with Roche followed by a night out with the gang. I only went as a cheerleader but people really outdid themselves with costumes this year with my friend Joe going as the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Roche going as Walter White/Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. That made him a sort of "local celebrity" when we were out with people asking to have pictures with him. Yesterday I went to the pub to watch Liverpool v Arsenal. Now I'm in no way a football fan but with Roche being a Liverpool supporter and Joe being an Arsenal supporter I thought I'd better go to keep the peace. And today I'm having a lazy Sunday watching Harry Potter, it's a hard life! Back to reality with uni tomorrow though.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Review: La Roche-Posay Serozinc

What is it?
It's a zinc sulfate solution in an aerosol spray form

What does it claim to do?
Purifies, cleanses and soothes the skin's surface irritations

How to use it.
I use it as a toner, so after my cleanser but before my moisturiser. I spray it evenly across my face, wait 10 seconds for it to sink in a bit then dab my face with a cotton pad. Alternatively you can just use a cotton pad to wipe it around your face.

After 8 years of a religious cleanse and moisturise routine (twice a day) I thought it was about time I stopped ignoring toners and actually introduced one into my daily routine. I always dismissed this middle step as pointless since my cleanse and moisturise combination seemed to be working perfectly. However since adding this product in between cleansing and moisturising I kicked myself for not doing it sooner. 
At first I was sceptical about this product, despite reading such positive reviews, because I thought it was essentially "fancy water", with the ingredients simply being "water, sodium chloride and zinc sulfate". However the results were incredible. I thought my old routine was doing the trick but after using this for 3 weeks now I can see how wrong I was. 
Toners basically get rid of any makeup or cleanser left behind on your skin and this spray certainly does that! My skin has never been so clean and, as a result, I've never seen my skin so consistently spot-free. With no makeup or other impurities sticking around on my skin and clogging my pores my skin has benefited massively, giving me the confidence to even go out without any foundation/concealer on. 
Who knew you could get such a fantastic result from "fancy water"?!

Sum Up.
I now don't know where I'd be without this product in my routine, I will definitely be re-purchasing and I highly recommend trying it out. 

Anyone else tried it? If so, what did you think?

Friday, 1 November 2013

November Wishlist

Happy Day-After-Halloween Guys! Ok so this post isn't really going to fit in with the "Halloween Vibes" I've been seeing everywhere today but it's the first chance I've had all week to do my "Wishlist" post. I'm big on skincare and think trying out different brands until you find the one that's right for you is so important. So here's a list of skincare products (with some makeup and nail varnish thrown in for good measure) I'm desperate to try:

1) REN Rosa Centrifolia Cleansing Gel (£14, M&S): REN is a brand that I've seen reviewed by bloggers a million times so I think it's about time I jumped on the bandwagon and saw what the hype is all about. Cleansing, in my opinion, is the most important part of my skin routine so I like to shop around and try different ones. This is definitely the next one I'm trying.

2) Lush Tea Tree Toner Water (£3.95, Lush): I've only just got in to using toners and am completely loving the results. That new-found love of toners added with the fact this is Tea Tree based makes this a winning combination for me and I can't wait to try it!

3) Soap & Glory Dr Spot Super Strength Breakout Clearing Gel (£8, Boots): I don't have a massive problem with spots but I find spot treatments a lifesaver when they do rear their ugly heads. Right now I'm using Origins Spot Remover which is amazing but a tad pricey so next time I want to try the more "student-budget-friendly" Soap & Glory version.

4) Super Facialist Vitamin C Gentle Daily Micro Polish Wash (£9.99, Boots): Super Facialist is another brand I've never tried but keeps cropping up on the blog scene. This product is supposed to buff your skin and give it a nice glow so can't wait to try it!

5) Origins Out of Trouble Mask (£22, Origins): Origins is one of my favourite skincare brands and their Overnight Drink Up Intensive Mask is something I now couldn't live without. This is definitely going to be my next Origins purchase, although it is at the top end of my budget.

6) Organic Surge First Class Face Mask (£7.99, Amazon): This one was recommended by a friend. I have sensitive skin and am pretty careful about what I put on my skin so this being "sensitive skin tested" makes it all the more appealing to me. 

7) Soap & Glory Beauty Sleep Accelerator Night and Flight Moisture Miracle (£13, Boots): I'm a big fan of overnight skincare too because I love the way my skin looks and feels in the morning and with Soap & Glory offering such affordable products how can I resist?!

8) Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation (£8.99, Boots): On to make-up! Ever since I've started wearing foundation I've only ever bought Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid Foundation which, although it still does the job, I feel like I need to branch out of a bit and have definitely heard good things about this one so may aswell give it a whirl!

9) Essie Recessionista Nail Varnish (£7.95, Amazon): Essie has replaced Rimmel as my new go-to nail varnish. I find it chips less and has a much more even coverage even if it comes with a higher price tag. Since Christmas is just around the corner I feel like a darker nail varnish is essential and anyone who knows me knows I'm forever wearing purple nail varnish so this shade is right up my street!