Monday, 30 May 2016

Why I'm So Over London

It seems like everyone and their dog have moved to London over the last few years and yes, I may be one of those people, but my time with this city is finally come to an end and although I'm sad about it;   part of me just can't bloody wait to get out. 

Rewind 6 years and you'll hear me uttering the words "I absolutely hate London, I'll never live there in a million years!" 3 years later and there I was, driving down to East London with a van full of my worldly possessions, eating humble pie. It was a trip to visit a friend in Balham which finally changed my mind and little did I know I'd later spend two and a half years living in that exact area of South West London. Although the fact that most of my friends, along with the majority of my cousins, had all started flogging to the big smoke; it was the challenge of seeing if I could actually cope with the crazy busy lifestyle of the capital that finally drew me too it. Coming from Sheffield I always have, and always will, be a city girl. However London was a whole new level of city life that I wasn't sure I could cope with; but I sure as hell was up for the challenge. 

Now this post isn't set out to slag off London in the slightest as I have, in the majority, loved every moment. Sure it's had its ups and downs (some extremely down I must tell you) but all in all London has been amazing and there is no other place quite like it. I think everyone should live here at some point in their lives however, here are just 3 reasons as to why I'm totally over London.

Why I'm So Over London

First and foremost, and probably the main reason I'm moving back up North is because of how much it bloody costs to live here. It's no shock that living in London is stupidly expensive, in fact it seems to be all over the news right now, and I don't as much have a problem with the amount of money I've had to part with to live here as a whole; rather it's stuff we have to put up with for that cost that I have a problem with. 

Recently I read about the #rantyourrent that was spreading across the Internet. This hashtag summed up the utter crap people had to put up with whilst spending hundreds for the privilege. No surprise, the majority of people posting to this hashtag were people living in London. 

People were commenting about the poor conditions of their living arrangements along with how much they were spending. These things included, living with damp infested rooms, evil landlords and little tiny housemates that weren't on the tenancy agreement. Whilst reading the article and seeing these photos I was sad to be able to say I could relate to every outrageous point being made; and all for the cost of £1200 a month. 

Before moving to London I'd never heard of anyone just accepting the fact that their house/flat/studio came with rodents, or even worse; cockroaches. It turns out in London this is just a given. I think I know more people that have had nice then those that haven't. And before you think the quality of these flat must be awful; they're not! Although our flat in Balham wasn't the most modern, it also wasn't a horrible flat either. Sadly people in London are now just accepting that they have to pay lots for very average conditions...and mice. My flat in Sheffield was in three times better conditions, two times the size and half the price. 

3 reason's why London drives me mad

Secondly I miss being nice to strangers. When I tell work colleges who have lived in London all their lives that you are practically best friends with the stranger you sat next to in the bus by the time you're home, they just can't grasp the concept. In not asking for much just to be able to make small talk with someone on the tube without being considered a crazy person. Now, not everyone in London is rude/grumpy/miserable or all the above! In fact 99% of the people here are lovely however it is becoming increasingly common that once a person is thrown into an environment where they're on their own, surrounded by strangers, it's like all manners go out the window. On my daily commute I see so many grown adults act like stroppy huffy teenagers; it gets a little embarrassing. And what's even more embarrassing? I find myself sinking to their level!

If someone takes more than one second to get out of my way; their the idiot. If someone stops on the tube stairs to figure out which direction they need to go in; their a 'bloody tourist'. If someone doesn't move down the carriage on the train to fill all the gaps; their the most selfish person ever. What have I become?! I can't figure out which is worse, the fact that London is full of rude people or the fact I've turned into one of them.

And finally, this is more of a simple thing, and that's the food shop. Not wanting to sound like an old woman here, I miss being able to do a weekly shop and just put it in the car and take it home. In London such a easy task is made 10 times harder when a) having a car in London is almost as expensive as living here so the car remains up north b) you're forced to carry more than your weight in food, almost cutting off the blood circulation to your arm on the journey home and c) you have to dodge the whole of South London on the way back. The whole shopping task is so harder just because I live in the big city! I also just want to add that you can't even walk in a straight line in London anymore due to the amount of people you have to maneuver around...but that's a whole new rant.

Annnnd I think that is where I'll leave it, purely because I could go on forever listing off why I'm so very ready to move back up north and I don't want to bore you all. However I can't help but note, as I'm sat here in my Christmas onsie in the hotel I've been living in for the past five weeks (turns out my tenancy agreement and work notice did not run out at the same time), how I actually really have loved living in London along with the experiences and fun I've had here and how much I've grown since I made the big leap in relocating.

But, for now London, we're done.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Jo Malone's Fragrance Combining Experience Review

As I've got older I've found it harder and harder to think of gifts to get my Mum. Over my 27 years I have bought her everything under the sun that you could possibly get a mother; from candles to perfume and a couple of pairs of slippers thrown in between. When both my parents reached a milestone birthday last year, I wanted to get them something a little extra special. For my Dad it was simple, something sentimental and something guitar related; which both went down a storm. For my Mum it was a little more difficult.

As my Mum is a HUGE lover of Jo Malone (I can't remember a Birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day gone by where she hasn't received something Jo Malone related) I wanted to get her something she hadn't had from the brand before. Through doing a little bit of research I soon learnt I could not only physically get her something she hadn't had before (a nice new shinny perfume, among other things), I could also get her something she hadn't done before. I could treat her to a whole Jo Malone experience that she'd never had...and all for no cost!

Jo Malone's Fragrance Combining Review

Jo Malone offer a number of experiences that you can do in store (or at any department counter) and they're all completely free. These experiences help customers try out a number of products allowing us to figure out which scents are best for us. For my Mum (who has been stuck on the same scent since she first fell in love with Jo Malone) I chose the Hand and Arm Massage with a Fragrance Combining consultation in order to help her pick a new fragrance that would not only smell amazing on it's own, but would also work well when mixed with her favorite sent, letting her to create a whole new scent of her own. Not only do you get to discuss and test your preferred notes with one of the lovely and extremely knowledgeable Jo Malone ladies, they also throw in a free hand and arm massage in for good measure.

The experience starts with discussing which notes and scents you prefer, along with getting help figuring out which scents would work well with the perfume you already have waiting for you at home (my Mum went for the fruity Grapefruit to complement the citrusy Lime, Basil and Mandarin). You then get to sample a number of Jo Malone fragrances that the consultant matches to your suggestions. Once you've picked your favourite, then comes the most relaxing and calming hand and arm massage you'll every have, using all the products from your chosen range.

The massage starts with the Jo Malone consultant using the Body and Hand Wash to cleanse your hands and arms, this is then gently wiped off using a Lime, Basil and Mandarin infused warm towel. Next comes a lovely hand and arm massage using the Body Cremes; which was truly needed in my case, I didn't realise how much a hand and arm massage can really help to relax you and relieve stress! Finally, you are left with a generous spritz of perfume to leave you smelling divine for the rest of the day.

I really can't recommend the Fragrance Combining experience enough. Not only was the experience as a whole a lovely, relaxing and luxurious event, the Fragrance consultant was so friendly, tentative and knowledgeable. Sadly I forgot to take note of the lovely girl's name who helped me and my Mum but she worked at the Jo Malone counter in House of Fraser at Meadowhall and I'd go back to her every time either of us want a new fragrance, that's for sure.

You can book this experience, along with a 'Scent your Wedding,' 'Scent your Home' or 'The Scent for you' experience by calling up your local Jo Malone counter, or by booking online at one of the four Jo Malone Boutiques. And don't worry guys, Jo Malone isn't leaving you out, there is also an 'Essentials for Men' experience to help you find your signature scent too. And don't forget, they are all completely complimentary.

Have any of you had any of these experiences? Is it something you would love to do as a Jo Malone fan? I think it's a great way to choose the best scent for you and, as Jo Malone has so many fragrances to choose from, it's great for customers old and new to help them find their favourite scent.

I'd like to give a huge thank you to Jo Malone at Meadowhall for making mine and my mum's day and for helping me give her the birthday treat she deserves.

As always, thanks for reading.

Hannah xxx

Monday, 16 May 2016

Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation Review

It's not very common that I make it to the end of a foundation without wanting to go out and try something new, or that my skin has completely started to reject the product it once knew and loved. Saying that, it's not very common that I actually reach the end of a foundation at all, let alone go out and repurchase it. But I think this is all because I had never used the Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation before.

Gone are the days of constantly researching a better foundation for oily skin. Gone are the days where I'm reaching for one of my many half empty bottles that I have in my collection and gone are the days where I'm looking for the next foundation that will hopefully be THE foundation. And I have Vichy to thank for that!

Now, casting my mind way back to almost 2 years ago, I went to Vichy's launch of several new products to their Dermablend range (see that post here because there really are some amazing products in this range) and this is when the Fluid Corrective Foundation caught my eye. If you don't know much about Vichy's Dermablend range then here's the most important thing; Vichy takes pride in making this make up for even the most sensitive of skin types to use and love, and thus the healthy make up was born.

Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation Review

 So, now on to why I just love this stuff and why I haven't touched another foundation for a least a year. First of all the coverage is amazing. Now I'm not someone that has particularly bad skin but I do have a very uneven skin tone and when I do get a pesky little blemish, my God does that little thing scar my face up. It takes months for the remnants of each blemish to disappear from my face, but the Dermanblend Fluid Correction Foundation really does cover my skin flawlessly. To top it off, and help support my amazing coverage claim, it's well known that make up artists use this foundation to cover tattoos and you can't argue with that.

Next comes the formula. For a medium to thick liquid foundation the Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation feels so ridiculously light on the skin. Ok, yes if you are trying to blend a 5p sized amount onto your face you are going to feel it, but the point with this foundation is that you really don't need much to go a long way. I only use a pea's size amount on my brush then dot that round my face and this covers and blends perfectly and feels like I have nothing on my skin. One little negative about this foundation is that it can transfer if you're wearing too much, so if you're wanting a really thick layer and heavy foundation look than I definitely recommend setting it with some powder or using a setting spray.

Then we come to the 16 hours this foundation claims to stay on the skin for. Well I have to say that I don't think there has been a time where I have needed to wear this foundation for 16 hours but I know for a fact that my skin still looks great when I'm washing it off at 10pm after it's been applied at 8am. It never needs topping up throughout the day and certainly lasts a full day after suffering the morning London commute and awful office air con without being affected. Not only does it last a long time on the face, it also last's a long time in your make up collection. Due to only needing a small amount to cover my whole face, a little really does go a really long way with this foundation, it has lasted me months without even a hint of running out or needing to repurchase. 

And finally, the finish of this foundation is definitly matte so it works perfectly for oily skin types. However, if you add a little bit of highlight to the skin, or mix the foundation with a brightening moisturiser, you can certainly get a glowy look. It is hard to say anything bad about this product but sadly here comes another small negative. Unfortunately, like most foundations found in the drugstore or on the high street, the colour range isn't the best. I use Opal (number 15) which is the second lightest shade they have and I'd consider myself to have a medium skin tone. Saying that, it looks like they have added a few more shades since I first purchased it so I wouldn't let this stop you for checking to see if you can find a shade to match.

In summary:
Coverage = Flawless
Longevity = Over 14 hours
Formula = Medium but buildable
Finish = Matte
Price = £18 for 30ml

All in all I really can't say a bad thing against this foundation. For something that covers so well, lasts so long on the skin and blends so well when applying, the few minor negatives that come with it are easily forgotten. This foundation is a must for anyone with bad skin or for those that just like a decent coverage with minimal effort. It's also a great one for us shiny faced gal's.

Thanks for reading,
Hannah xxx

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