Thursday, January 29

House of Fraser Exclusive Estée Lauder Gift Bag :: Offer and Review!

House of Fraser will be hosting an exclusive Estée Lauder gift* with purchase offer, online and in stores from today through to February 14th. The gift is free with two or more Estée Lauder purchases, one to be skincare or foundation. I received one of these wonderful gift packs this weekend and they're great! 

So what would I buy if I were looking to get this gift pack? I definitely think this lip-pencil is a must. I started making an effort with lipstick last year and I learned that lip pencils are pretty awesome products. They make your lipstick last longer and the definition looks flawless. I'm definitely a lip pencil fan now, can you tell? Without a doubt I would treat myself to this 3 in 1 Cleanser/Toner/Remover. Any cleanser that has a little added extra and also removes my make up easily has a big tick from me! My final choice is something completely boring, I'm aware of this. I just really need to get better at cleaning my make up brushes though. So I'd treat myself to their Make Up Brush Cleaner. I don't even want to tell you how gross my foundation brush is... It will give you nightmares. 

My favourite thing from the whole pack is the Lisa Perry bag. It's so gorgeous! The pattern is beautiful, I absolutely love 60s and 70s inspired styles like this. I can't get enough of this lip stick either. It's a little darker than my natural shade so I've been wearing it as a subtle day shade, just to add a little something to my look. I'm loving the cleanser too. It leaves my skin feeling so clear, without feeling dry afterwards and oh my lord the smell! The smell is so lush! I wouldn't recommend it as an eye make up remover though. Holy moly does it sting your eyes if you're not careful. I learned the hard way and spent a good while rinsing my eyes out! 

Will you be treating yourself to anything in this offer? Have you used any of these products before?

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Wednesday, January 28

Wednesday Loves #93!

My goodness! Donna's dress is SO beautiful!

I am so in love with this print!

Oh lord, Becky's new pillow is so cute! 

23 Statements That Will Make You Rethink The World Around You.
The laptop one made me feel really sad!

Becca's new dressing gown house coat is gorgeous. I am so jealous!

A tea ring! How awesome!

These must be the greatest wire sculptures ever! There's a pretty cute koala too.

Other awesome links:
<3 We all remember how hard life was before the internet, right? Parents being able to hear every phone call, having to remember every phone number you needed, how were you supposed to let your friend know you were running late!?
<3 Ever wondered what you could do to stop your puppies ears from falling into their food? This! Just make sure it's a nice comfy scrunchy! 
<3 Starbucks misspelling names always makes me chuckle. "Mark with a C" has got to be the funniest so far.
<3 Have you ever wanted to wear a kitten on your head? Well now you can! Don't worry, it's not a real kitten!
<3 This skater dress is so pretty! New Look always have the best dresses.

Awesome people in blog land:
<3 What do you think you've learned in three years of blogging? Hayley's picked up on some great things.
<3 Kirstie's take on her 2015 resolutions is brilliant. She's come up with 5 dont's of 2015!
<3 Danielle is holding a pretty awesome giveaway. Take a look!
<3 How smokin' hot does Becky look in her Slytherin leggings?
<3 Need some tips for being more confident? Jemma has some awesome ones for you!

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*This post contains links as part of an affiliate program. This just means that the etsy items I would usually include in my posts might start helping this little blog out.. If you've not yet ventured into the awesome world of Etsy then go ahead! Here's a £5 credit for signing up! 

Monday, January 26

#NoFearGoSmear :: My Smear Test Experience.

In September of last year I received a lovely little letter inviting me to a super exciting smear test. It was one of the scariest thoughts ever because I didn't know a single thing about a smear test. In my 24 years of life I hadn't learned a single thing about smear tests. I've heard them mentioned in passing but I'd never actually heard anything about how they're done, how long you have to wait for results or what happens if you get abnormal results. It's just something that we don't really talk about. 

This post was inspired by the latest #SmearForSmear campaign. Where the public are asked to smear their make up to show their support for cervical screening. I'm one for raising awareness of things like this of course, but I haven't seen anyone actually talking about the actual ins and outs of it all. So guess what I'm going to talk about today? My experience of a smear test.

When I received my letter in the post my first thought was "But I'm not 25 yet!" *insert despair emoji*. I was 5 months off being 25 and I thought it was a bit soon. I told a few friends and their replies were basically "It's better getting it out of the way now, rather than being invited around your birthday." So I rang up and made an appointment. That's when I started asking lots of questions. I spoke to a handful of friends and although everyone's experience differed in some way, every one of them agreed that it's really not as bad as you think it's going to be. 

The day arrived, I walked into the nurses office and she was really friendly, which helped calm my nerves. She asked me if I'd ever had a smear test before and answered any questions I had. Then it was time for the fun to begin. You're asked to lie down on the bed with your knees parted. She'll tell you exactly what she's doing the entire time and it helps you to relax because you know roughly what to expect. The next step is inserting the speculum. The speculum is the thing that looks a bit like a bird's beak... seriously. It's used to hold open the walls of your vagina so that your cervix is visible. This is the strangest part of the whole process. She pops it in and clicks it three or four times into place. It feels a little intrusive but it's not painful at all. You're just aware that there is something there. Next is the object that takes the sample, it's a tiny little soft brush which I was shocked about. I'd always envisioned a pair of scary tweezers pulling a piece of your cervix away but it's just a little brush. She mentioned that it might feel uncomfortable (some women feel a pinch, some say it feels a little like the start of a cramp) but all I felt at this point was a little push and a tickle.

This was when my experience differed from anyone else I had spoken to. The nurse mentioned that there was a lot of blood on my cervix. A little blood is expected but there was a lot more than she would have liked. She told me not to worry, her words were "I know you'll worry but please do try not to..." and then she said I should just wait to see what the results said. I wasn't the first woman she'd seen with this and I certainly wouldn't be the last! I got home and spoke to my friends about my worries. They were all very calming and one of my friends even mentioned that she's had a handful of tests because each time she gets the results they come back as abnormal. It's always been fine, she just has abnormal cells but it's surprising how often this happens to women and this is why it's so important to talk to someone about it. It will help you and it might also help someone going through the same thing. As soon as I talked to my friends about it I was calmer. Two weeks went by and I finally got my results. They were normal and that was it. I would't need to go back until 2017.

It's important to remember that a smear test does not test you for cancer cells. It tests for abnormal cells. If you do have abnormal cells then you will be invited for more tests and you should receive answers within a few months.

You might think it's strange to share such an intimate experience but I'm more than happy to talk about it if it eases someone else's worries. If you have any questions about it then please feel free to shoot me an email. One in four women in the UK do not attend their smear tests when invited and I would hate for it to be because of the lack of information on it. I was very nearly one of those women because the fear of the unknown nearly swayed me away.

Or if you'd rather read about it yourself then there is some great information here.

Have you experienced a smear test? If you've written a post about your experience then please do leave a link in the comments below. 

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Saturday, January 24

Review & An Outfit Post :: Meet My Little Brother!

Meet my little brother, Dudley. I use the term "little" because he's my younger brother. The youngest out of all five siblings but as you can see he is definitely not the little one in our family. He rocks in at a whopping 6'7, he has size 15 feet (let's not even talk about how hard it is to find shoes for him!) and his shoes could probably carry you over the Pacific Ocean. You can imagine how perfect it was when Jacamo got in touch with me and asked me if I'd like to review a jacket. If there is anyone who is perfect to review something from Jacamo it's Dudley. 

I was unsure of how up for an outfit post he would be but he got right into it! My parents were loving it too! "We can go here for lunch because you'll have a nice backdrop for him to stand in front of." and "no if we go here then she'll get a good view of Plymouth!" Maybe I should get them to organise all of my outfit posts? 

What's perfect about Jacamo is their options for regular or large jacket length. Most of their coats come in the two options so if you've got a particularly long torso you don't have to worry about pulling your jacket down all day - something Dudley has had to suffer with a lot. We often have to size up when buying clothing for him because they're just never long enough. When you size up for length you end up losing any shape/fit so it's great to finally see Dudley in a coat that fits!

The coat is great! I was really impressed to find that the breathable fabric in the hood was sewn into a hidden back ventilation area too. It's a jacket you can wear in the winter on top of more layers, but also a jacket that you can wear in the summer to keep off the chill without overheating! 

The fit is perfect. I was really happy that the sleeves were a perfect length too. I've often found longer jackets with sleeves that are just a teensy-bit too short. If you're lengthening the torso at least do the same to the sleeves! All in all I was chuffed, to say the least.

Dudley's verdict? When he first put the coat on he said "booty job" (I know, it's a Cornish thing. It basically means "this is great". Just let it go.) and then seemed more and more impressed with it as he noticed little things. The breathable netting was a favourite of his. The zips on the pockets too - little things. 

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