Saturday, 21 June 2014

Oh I Say, That's a Bit Lush Isn't It?

You wanna hear something totally crazy?  But you have to promise to still like me after...  I'm serious!

Apart from the odd face mask and a bath bomb given to me as a gift once....

I've never used Lush products!

I know, I know.  Where have a been all this time?  Catch up Joanna!  What kind of blogger even am I?  

Well, today, I promise you, that all changed!

I've always had skin issues.  It's just so dry, like all of the time.  Though if I am totally honest I don't do that much to sort it out.  I don't exfoliate that regularly, I don't even moisturize every day.

But for some reason, this week, I've been really down about my appearance.  The realization that I don't always take that much pride in myself really hit home.  

So... I decided to hit up my local Lush store in a big way!

And what can I say?  I'm hooked!

It all started with the AMAZING Amelie in the Aberdeen store.  This woman was such a huge help and I can not thank her enough.  She was so knowledgeable about all of the products and was clearly a big lover of Lush and everything it stands for!

Anyway, I won't babble on any more.  Here is what I bought!

First up, when I mentioned my skin was very dry, Amelie suggested 'Sympathy for the Skin'.  'A comforting cream to soothe uncomfortably hot, sensitive skin - now in a self-preserving formula'.  This stuff is packed full of organic bananas, coca butter and vanilla to help nourish your skin.  It's great for dry skin because it is anti-inflammatory and cooling.  Plus it feels amazingly silky smooth!

Now, everyone knows the secret to great, smooth skin is exfoliation.  So I grabbed a pot of 'Rub Rub Rub' to do just this.  'An exfoliating shower scrub that can also be used to wash, volumise and add shine to hair'.  Wait, what!?  I literally only just found out that hair thing right now!  Anyway, you can use Rub Rub Rub wet for a gentle scrub or dry if you really wanna go fir it.  It's got Sea Salt, lemon juice and Orange Flower.

Next, for the perfect bath I got Butterball.  This may be the most 'boring' of the bath bombs, but is great for dry skin.  'Once the cocoa butter pieces have melted, your skin will be coated by a light buttery film that smells good enough to eat'.  It also has Ylang ylang which is used to treat tress and depression and to relieve anger, panic and fear.  Perfect!

These two little beauties I had heard of before.  'You've been Mangoed' and 'Sunnyside'.  Both of these create the most wonderful soft bubble baths and due to the citrus ingredients will leave you feeling fully prepped for the day ahead!

Lastly, I had to get me a face mask.  So I picked up 'Oatifix'.  'This gentle, nourishing mask is made with fresh bananas and illipe butter to moisturise dry skin'.  It's full of oatmeal, ground almonds and kaolin which help leave your skin feeling soft and supple.  

Now, the more observant of you might have noticed there are a couple of things I haven't mentioned yet.  After realising that I had spent quite some time in the store and Andrew, bless him, had waited very patiently, I figured he needed some relaxation time too!

So... we got him...

'Brightside' 'when you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle'.

And... 'Avobath' 'in the morning to help you face the day: its lemongrass and bergamont oils will pick you up while also tackling dryness with avocado and olive oil'.  

If he doesn't use them, I certainly will!

So that's my Lush Haul.  But I need you're help!  When you take back 5 clean pots you get a face mask free.  I have 3 pots to use up...  I need another 2...  What are your Lush suggestions?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Yoga in the Office?

I'm pretty lucky at work.  Although I do spend much of my time sitting at my computer, we are encouraged to correspond mainly on the phone.  We also have head set phones which means I can get up and walk about while doing my job.

In fact, they like it when we do so much that they provide us with basket balls, scooters baseball bats and other crazy toys.

And yet, since I started working in an office I find my back gets stiff and I'm not nearly as connected to my mind and to my body as I would like.

But what's the answer?  It's not like I'm gonna start a downward dog while on the phone... 

And what about peak stress times?  When you want the ground to physically swallow you up so bad your so hunched over your practically on the floor!?

Sure, I can wait till 5.30.  I can run out of the door and into the yoga studio ready to sweat it out.

Only to return the next morning and start the viscous cycle all over.

And this an office that has baseball bats!!

Wouldn't it be great if there was some way to bridge that work/life imbalance?

Well, I was reading this months copy of OM Yoga Magazine and came across a great little article by Adam Hocke which suggested 'three simple steps to bring some deeper yogic awareness to your desk'.

These three little steps will help you 'be present' at work.  And this will help you to make friends with stress!

So do you want to know the secret?

1 - Breathe
Sure you breathe.  I believe you.  But next time your slouching over your keyboard furiously typing an e-mail to that guy in finance who just doesn't 'get it' take a moment and breathe.  Breathe throughout the day and whatch your posture improve.  Watch your productivity improve.  Watch your stress levels improve.

2 - Listen
So you're breathing.  You're sitting straight.  You're calm.  You're ready to listen.  No not to the two gossiping across the desk about what happened last Friday night.  But to yourself!  Listen to your inner dialogue as you process your thoughts.  Take a second to listen instead of jumping right in and choose your course of action wisely.  Listen to your mistakes and use them to improve.

3 - Connect
Ok, so you're breathing, you're listening, you're feeling good!  But something is still missing.  Why are you doing this job?  Why do you come to work every day.  What's the point in what your doing?  The answer?  Connect with the little things and find out.  Connect with the person you've never met but e-mail regularly.  Connect with the person who will reap the benefit of what you are doing in this very moment.  

"Be in your life.  All of it.  Bring yourself to work and see what happens"  

* OM Yoga Magazine have very kindly given me an online subscription in return for writing occasional posts that have been inspired by what's in this months issue.  I love the magazine and I'm sure you would too.  You can get your subscription here  

** pictures in this post are from

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Haggis Sausage Rolls

Haggis: A wild creature, typically with the legs on one side shorter than the other, which runs around the Scottish Highlands.  Often found with a sea dwelling monster affectionately known as Nessy.

Very few have met these creatures.  But Andrew did...  He said it looked like this.

Best thing is... they make excellent sausage rolls!  

Here's how.

To make these bad boys, you'll need:

1 medium sized onion - finally chhopped
handful of sage leaves - torn
400g sausage meat
400g haggis
2 eggs
ready rolled puff pastry

Preheat your oven to 180C and soften your oinion over a medium heat.  Add in the torn sage and cook for a couple of minutes.  When done, set to the side.

While your onion and sage is chillin out get right into a bowl with the prok and haggis.  Use your hands and smoosch (technical term) it all together.  Crack in an egg with a pinch of salt and pepper then add your onion and sage and keep smoosching.

Cut your pastry in half so you have two long rectangles.  Divide your meat mixture between the two pastry rectangles in sausage shaped blobs.  Make them quite compact and roll the pastry over them.

Beat the remaining egg with a dash of milk and brush over the pastry to give it that gorgeous golden crispy look.

Pop into the over for about 25 minutes.  And you're done!

Best served with a little side salad and heaps of sunshine!

They are pretty darn tasty cold too!

You might have noticed that I have two different kinds...  Andrew, being a bit of a fuss pot demanded I make regular sausage rolls too.  Just swap out the haggis for more sausage meat.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Spring to Summer Make Up

I love this time of year.  When everyone gets exciting at the slightest glimmer of sun and the long nights makes it feel like you've finally got that extra hour you keep dreaming of.

I also love that it is a time of minimal make up.  Don't get me wrong, I love my make up but sometimes it's nice to know you can get up, through some stuff on and you're good to go.

I thought I'd share this look that I have been rocking over the past few weeks with you all!  So here it is!

Ok, let's start with the base.  I mix Chanel VITALUMIÈRE Satin Smoothing Fluid Makeup mixed in with M.A.C Strobe Cream.  I find Vitalumiere a little too light on it's own and find it goes a little patchy.  But mixed in with this Strobe Cream it leaves this gorgeous, creamy dewy look.  Perfect for spring/summer!  

I mix it up on the back of my hand and apply it with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush.

Time for concealer.  I have this horrible cold at the moment and am looking a bit like Rudolph so this little M.A.C number is perfect.  I also use Smashbox Eye Primer.  Not only does it keep my shadow on longer (I swear I get sweaty lids... is that a thing?), but it really helps to intensify the colour.

The bottom is the shadow along and the top shade is the shadow over primer.

I've been in love with the Smashbox Full Exposure palette for a while now so it just had to feature on this make up look.

I start with Shade 1 over my entire lid as a base, then take Shade 2 about 3 quarters of the way over the lid.  Shade 3 I use in the crease line to create definition and finally shade 4 (clearly a favourite) as an inner corner highlighter.  Shade 3 is also the perfect brow colour for me.  I'm really lucky to have naturally full brows but this just helps to fill them in a tad.

More Smashbox for this Nude Eyelinerlipstick and highlighter/blush.  I am also loving Maybelline Falsies mascara at the moment.  It gives that perfect fluttery effect without being too heavy.

I finished the look off with some bronzer and blusher.  Remember duck face and temples...

If my budget had stretched I would really have wanted to use this.  But a girl can dream!

I'd love to know of any spring/summer make up recommendations you have.  Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Turner Prize Nominations

The Turner Prize shortlist is out!

Four relatively unknown artists, but utterly fantastics artists will wait with eager anticipation until 1st December 2014 to find out the winner.

The Turner Prize is worth a grand total of £40,000, with £25,000 awarded to the winner and £5,000 a piece for the other shortlisted candidates.  

Awarded to British artists under 50 the Prize was established in 1984, meaning this year marks the 30th anniversary, and has the aim of promoting public discussion around British contemporary art.  

It is easily one of the most prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe.

This years shortlist has been making waves in the art world.  Full of diverse and varied work it ranges from film and video to performance.

The Director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis said 'This years nominations illustrate the mobility of the contemporary art world, in which the works are seen at global bienales and festivals over the course of the year.  The four shortlisted artists share a strong international presence and an ability to adapt, restage and reinterpret their own and others' works, very often working in a collaborative social context'.

The nominees are:

Duncan Campbell for 'It for Others in Scotland + Vennice'.

Duncan Campbell.

It for Others 2013 by Duncan Campbell 16mm film transferred to digital video.

Duncan Campbell is best known for his films in which he weaves fact and fiction to create portraits of provocative subjects.  

Ciara Phillips for her solo exhibition at The Showroom.

Turner Prize 2014 shortlist: Ciara Phillips portrait

Ciara Phillips' work from The Showroon

The exhibition was set up as a temporary print studio where invited artists, designers and local womens groups could produce new screen prints.

James Richards for his contribusion to The Encyclopaedic Palace.

Turner Prize 2014 shortlist: James Richards, Rosebud 2013 HD video still

Turner prize 2014 James Richards

In his videos and installations he brings together a range of found and original material.  His images go through undergo various levels of manipulation and repetition, with an accompanying soundtrack.

Tris Vonna-Mitchell for his solo exhibition Postscript II (Berlin).

Turner Prize 2014 shortlist: Tris Vonna-Michell : OU: Finding Chopin 2012 still

Turner prize 2014 Tris Vonna-Michell

Fast paced spoken word live perfomances and recordings accompanied by installations providing a visual script.    

So there you have it, a plethera of dinner table conversation next time someone brings up the Turner Prize!  You're welcome! 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Singing in the Glasgow Rain

I love Glasgow.  I've wanted to move for ages, but it looks like we will be here in Aberdeen for the foreseeable future.

That's OK though, we have Andrews parents to visit!

We decided to take a trip last weekend and it was so wonderful that I thought I just had to share it with you!

Any time I am in Glasgow, I always head to the West End.  This time we decided to be a little 'mainstream' and have coffee in Tinderbox.  I wasn't disappointed as they have sugar in jars like this!

I don't even take sugar in my coffee but this excited me!  In case you're wondering, my scarf is that one EVERYONE has from Zara.  It's huge!  It's like a blanket.  Though in Scotland that is not always a bad thing...

Anyway, after coffee and lunch we headed back to Andrews parents where we made a friend!

We named him Columbus!  He comes and visits often and has started making himself right at home.  He's not our cat...  If you know this cat do tell us his name!

After an afternoon in the Sun reading, we headed back into the West End for tapas at Spuntini.  

We had so much food!  And I enjoyed a big glass of sangria!

After dinner he headed to the Citizens Theatre to see The Libertine.  Which was very good.  Long, but very good.

If you are over 16... check out the trailer (you'll see why)...

I made this face...

With my left over drumstick from Spuntini!

After eating so much food, we decided to take a long walk the next day in the Botanic Gardens.

There is so much to explore in the Botanic Garden.  There are art exhibitions.

A gardening club.

And these curious little paintings...

Got a free lettuce plant.  Called her Letty.

We had tea.

I hid behind a fern...

You didn't see me right??

Then... we got caught in the rain...

But there was still time to admire beautiful blossoms!

So, how was your weekend??