sophie didn't do anything at all.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

/ sod's law

Quite often we go through our lives blaming sod. In fact I blame sod all the time. There can't have been a bad situation where the guy hasn't featured - at least someone will utter those words and then all of a sudden the pressure is lifted. 'Hey, it wasn't our fault, it was going to happen anyway!' I hate to break it to everyone, but it's not a law. It's life. 

Murphy's law - known to many as sods law - is the belief or perhaps the rule that 'if anything can go wrong, it will'.

Of course, I think here that Murphy is given far too much credit. He merely put a name to the common assumption to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and that the worst always happens to those who least need it. Because if you're flying high you'll hardly notice a little bad thing. But if your day is going horrendously, breaking your teacup will push you right over the edge.

Many turns of phrase we use are often an adaptation on this central law.

'if it seems too good to be true, it probably is'
'if you're running late, the bus will be too'
'things get worse under pressure'
'you will always find something in the last place you look' (that's just common sense gosh damn it.)
'the other line always moves faster

And so on.

Just think of a bad situation and exaggerate, find a witty friend and bask in your cleverness.

I think really, Murphy's law highlights that quite often in complicated situations there are very few outcomes that are desired, and the rest (the majority) have undesirable consequences. It's just a case of probability.

Next time something good happens, I bet you won't thank Murphy for getting it wrong.

plus:
technically laws can't be created by one individuals and declared as fact. especially one that is just a mere speculation on the order of things.

Secondly, we have no proof whatsoever it was coined by a chap called murphy, as many different names are associated with the phrase, or something similar.

If you fancy reading more on this delightful topic I actually managed to find websites (yes. they exist.)


x



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/ it's the littlest things

Yesterday someone asked me what I did with my day. Then told me I was wasting my summer doing nothing. Thing is - I'm just so busy doing things I don't think of them as actual things - I'm just too busy enjoying myself!

Today I:
- Cleaned the house from top to bottom. Literally, cleaning frenzy. I then sat down with a cup of tea and watched come dine with me. 
- Read a large chunk of a book off my reading list sitting in the garden
- Put the finishing touches to the design of a website I'm helping to create... before cracking on with some more paperwork (bore)
- Reorganised my clothes, which took forever by the way, and finally got rid of those which I will never wear again
- Went shopping and bumped into the guy off Misfits with the tattoos, and the other one with curly hair and a ridiculously useless superpower. Literally bumped. 
- Made dinner and did a little more around the house. I'm a budding housewife.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but the word 'knackered' springs to mind...

xxx
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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

/ beauty / shaving vs waxing

Hair removal is one of the banes of my life. Seriously. I have tried most low budget solutions, and sometimes just want to be a boy. But not really.

I also made a video, but here's the post to work through at your own leisure.

The science
Before we get down to it's removal, I thought it was important to go over the boring sciencey bits. Hair grows everywhere (apart from the obvious places; soles of the feet, palms of the hands, lips and eyelids etc.), and the density of the hair varies from person to person. The growth phase of body hair is much shorter than that of the hair on your head (a few months) which is why it is shorter.

Shaving
When you shave, you are cutting the hair at the surface of the skin, often at a sharp angle. The hair that pushes through the skin is therefore 'thicker' because it hasn't been worn down or softened from being exposed. Shaving can last a couple of days - but as the hair was essentially at the surface anyway you can normally feel it within the day.

Waxing
Waxing (as with epilating) pulls the hair out from a lot lower down the hair shaft, sometimes taking the entire follicle out. Waxing actually damages the hair follicles under the skin, so over time as you wax more, the hair will grow back less and less (sometimes even a lighter colour and thinner). When you remove hair through waxing, results can last up to several weeks as it takes longer to grow back.

My experiences
I have never tried the whole hairy woman look, and don't intend to. I pluck my eyebrows and pretty much wax or epilate the rest of my body.

Shaving
When I was younger I used to use a Venus disposable razor - something with one of those moisturising blocks. I was bloody useless and would often end up with cuts all over my ankles and knees - just didn't have the patience. As much as I wanted perfectly smooth legs (and elsewhere) shaving it every 2-3 days was not the best solution. Not only did I make a horrific mess in the shower with those shaving foam products - it also took me forever and I was always missing patches. Hopeless child. 

Waxing
At somepoint around the age of 16 I came to my senses and realised I needed to find a solution. A friend recommended a local salon for waxing, and on a whim I decided to give it a go. At the time I was performing in a pantomime (..) so went for the whole shabang - full leg, bikini and underarm wax. Essentially naked, the woman assured me the process wouldn't hurt and that I would leave there feeling fabulous. Forty minutes of gritting my teeth later I felt slightly sad. My skin was sore, I'd had to endure a long torturous session and it was slightly awkward.

By the time I got home however, all was forgotten. Inspecting my completely smooth skin I was pleasantly surprised and felt it had been worth it. Sure, at the time it's a bit uncomfortable but being able to experience complete all over hairlessness for 2-4 weeks was amazing. 

Five years later I'm still an avid 'waxer'. I don't own, nor do I intend to, a razor and will continue with this treatment until I can afford a more permanent solution. I have already started to notice the hairs growing back finer and in fewer numbers - fingers crossed this continues!

With waxing it is important to remember that you do need to let the hairs grow sufficiently long enough to get a good grip on each one. That is probably the main downside, along with cost.... but lets not talk about how much money I spend on beauty products. 

Silk Epil Epilator

IT SHOULD STAY OUTISDE
As an attempt to save money, I bought an epilator (not that exact one but it's close). Wow. Let me just clarify that epilators remove hair by grasping multiple ones and pulling them out. So obviously I just jumped in there and went for it. As a substitute for waxing it does the job, but IT HURTS MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE. After a few attempts I realised the best solution would be to epilate after waxing to prolong the effects, especially because there aren't so many hairs to pull out. 

After the epilator thing went so well, I bought a waxing kit. That also went splendidly. It is so hard to completely wax your own legs - underarms are a maybe and the bikini line requires some determination but its a really stressful and messy process. I wish I was a professionally trained beautician and had the waxing malarky down, but I don't, so I'm not sure why I thought DIY would work. 

Hair care
Waxing and shaving aftercare is exceptionally important if you want to avoid the infamous ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs occur where the hair curls back into the skin, mainly caused by hair which has been left with an uneven and sharp tip or pushed beneath the surface of the skin. 


To avoid them, you need to properly exfoliate - I use a scrubbing brush and sugar scrub, and moisturise regularly. If you wax, it can be necessary to use a spray or gel to help clear and prevent ingrown hairs - I'm currently using Lycon's Ingrown-X-it which is highly acidic... just be mindful when your skin is a bit sensitive.

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect solution, but seem to getting on okay so far!

x
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/ beauty / review / July empties

Because the video is excrutiatingly slow, here's a summary of things I spoke about in my video review

Garnier exfoliating wash.


So as I said, I absolutely did not like this product. It made my skin dry and didn't stop any build ups or spots. The idea is great - the execution not so good. The scrubbing brush was what drew me towards this product in the first place and I found a good Soap and Glory one (as always Google is not my best friend) but you can pick up the equivalent in many stores.

It was supposed to unclog pores and reduce shine as a daily product, for me, the it was definitely too harsh to be used more than twice a week and my pores stayed the same. Nuhuh. Not for me.

2/10 sophie points

Nivea antiperspirant.

This stuff does the job. Mainly the whole sweat issue is covered sufficiently, but I have never had any problems with white marks. I said in my video you just need to follow the instructions and you'll be problem free ... but with respect to the 48H claim I don't think I could miss out a daily spray. That's just me.

But anyway, if you're looking for a fairly light and effective antiperspirant, where unless you're silly won't leave you with white marks, this is the spray for you!

I'm going to try out a few more anti white mark products, but will be keeping this as back up!

9/10 sophie points (that's nearly all of them)

Boots / Waitrose cleansing face wipes.



Face wipes make my life a bit easier when removing foundation. I'm so lazy when it comes to taking off make-up that I need something to get the ball rolling. The smell of the Boots product was by far my favourite, but overall the Waitrose wipes are more effective in doing their job. The thing about make up wipes is that you don't need a mirror and they're pretty refreshing - in this heat I normally need to take my make up off by mid afternoon so carrying a pack of these around is ideal. Both brands were a similar price (£1.50ish) - some facewipes are just extortionate - however you do get some cheeky Boots points if you shop there! To be quite honest, the difference between the two was minimal,but for me Waitrose gets a slightly higher mark.

If you want a nice smelling thing I'd recommend this Vanilla Lime Yankee Candle. Then you've at least got that covered and can choose your facewipes on merit alone.

Waitrose 7/10 sophie points
Boots- 6/10 sophie points 

Soap and Glory Girligo Body moisturising mist.

Hmmm. I'm sure you'll have grasped that this product made me feel 'indifferent'. As a moisturiser it's not amazing, but the fact it's a spray meant that it was easily absorbed - brilliant if you're running late. So as a whole I love the concept of spray moisturiser but will be shopping around to see if there are any more moisturising ones. I'm never going to totally dislike a Soap and Glory product - they smell gorgeous and probably contain some exciting ingredients, but this one didn't 100% do it for me.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Hair serum.



Right. I rave about this stuff. It just makes my hair so happy. It stops flyaways and keeps it straight for longer than without it, and I think my hair does dry quicker. You just can't go wrong. It's really lightweight and smells good, this is another one of those products which seems to last forever.

Yes please.

9.56/10 sophie points

Lancome foundation.



Foundations in my colour are hard to come by. In fact, I normally struggle to avoid the orange lines around the edge so having a Lancome Foundation that matched properly was a dream. The fact it lasted nearly all day was just another added bonus (24H again might be a push but it stayed on my face and didn't need re-application). Genuinely I loved this product but currently can't afford to spend that much for a while in the near future, so will be heading out to find a decent high street product (hopefully).

8/10 sophie points

Maybelline concealer



This is one of those products I'm too scared to move away from. Its a great concealer, but if I'm feeling really lazy sometimes gets used as a foundation as well. I just love it - especially because it's not too expensive and actually covers up those blemishes.

7.5/10 sophie points

Maxfactor lip tint.



Right, if you've been paying attention you'll have realised that this is one of my make up essentials. Honestly, I love the idea of a lip colour that is really easy to apply and can handle hot weather. If you are looking for a consistent product which isn't too overpowering definitely give these bad boys a go.

10/10 sophie points

I should totally be a beauty photographer. Nailed it...

x

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

/ 90s retro

Recently I mentioned a BBQ at which I claimed to have been reminiscing with my closest friends. That wasn't strictly true - they aren't my only friends, and last night made me realise I just know so many amazing people.

So spoilt.

The party yesterday was 90s themed - and as we all know about those themed events there's always that fear of going overboard when everyone else dresses normally. I just go overboard anyway. There's no point beating about the bush.

Never did I think I would see a Teletubbies convention chaired by Kurt Cobain. We're all big kids really.


this guy. you need to meet him if you ever do anything in your life. 
 I donned my best dungarees and a cap and walked around rapping the Fresh Prince theme song. Yeaaaah.




this is what happens to pokemon trainers when they age. 
 The teletubbies got a bit drunk and rowdy.







Austin Powers. At a party. I don't think you can top that.

x

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Friday, 23 August 2013

/ beauty / my holiday essentials

Hi chaps,

It can be tough when travelling around the country (or abroad) to actually decide on what you really need, and what you are just packing for luxury. I do the north-south commute more than is necessarily comfortable, and spend a lot of time at other peoples houses. This year I'm heading to Nice for a week (!!!) and have whittled down that which I need to take with me and those which will be taken if there's space.

My list of must haves:

Make up wipes. Say what you will about them being bad for your skin, I always rinse my face afterwards and have never had any problems. They also stop you needing to carry face-wash, cleanser and toner (these can be filed under 'added luxuries'), but sometimes I just take those too because I feel guilty... only if I'm not carrying my suitcase!

Moisturiser. Depending on how light I'm travelling, this will either be body and/or face. For the short term I'm perfectly happy using 'body' on face, but not face on body. That's just uneconomical. Aftersun also fits into this category - tres moisturising.

Foundation. Just taking one is quite a difficult decision, but currently it's No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation, because its amazing. If needs be, take your powder - but when I'm on holiday I like to wear less make-up, and have stuck to using an amazing tinted BB cream.

Eyebrow pencil/powder. I find even a slightly defined brow can improve the face, regardless of the state of the rest of it. Currently I'm using a Rimmel powder with a small powder brush, purely because it never slips!

Eye liner and Mascara. Recently I've been going back on my past and have stopped using either of these unless it's a special occasion.They are just too much faff to remove and I've started to appreciate my natural face shape! Instead I put some copper and brown powder close to the lash line and go with the flow.

Lip tint. I rave about this. Honestly, these little felt tip pens (MaxFactor Lipfinity lip tint) have saved my life. They are the perfect base for lipstick or work by themselves, which is nice in hot countries where you can't go overboard!

Lip salve (VASELINE). This is my one beauty essential which I would rather be late than forget. In fact, I can't be the only one who enters a mild state of panic when this bad boy is left behind. I love the pink one from Vaseline but have been testing out at least ten this past month so will give you the low down in due course!

Haircare. This is a tough one to whittle down. Obviously it's shampoo and a conditioner, but recently I've been using John Frieda's Frizz Ease 3 day straight and can't bring myself to leave it behind. However when travelling light I can forgo the hair straighteners (unless there will be photographs!!)

And then there's the holiday essentials sun-cream, aftersun and insect repellent. Lovely.
x




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/ tattoo

Right. I have a tattoo. This post is going to be quite rambly as it's an opinion one. I haven't written without planning what I'm going to say for so long who knows where I will end up!

So, you can't see it when you first meet me, and sometimes, I think this is just as much a blessing as it is a curse. 

The problem with it being discreet is that the immediate assumption is that you don't have a tattoo (obviously) and people will happily knock those who are inked before they realise you're awkwardly trying to show them yours. In my case it's very awkward (you try flashing the back of your neck).

But here's the thing. As soon as I put myself forwards and say yes, I have one, they all change their opinion.

I hate that.

It's very two faced, and very obvious.

Out of all my friends, there are only two of us that have tattoos. We're also the most unlikely of people to have gotten them and the surprise is often plain to see. I'm still yet to understand what type of person would get a tattoo, and who wouldn't - quite clearly I have one but don't fit with the stereotype!

My tattoo
I don't think it's fair to discuss them without telling you more about mine. I'm not uploading a picture, despite it being a common design because my tattoo is mine. I'm also not telling you what it means to me because it's personal and quite frankly not something I need to share. I have a black swallow on my neck, just above my shoulder line, which most of the time is covered by my hair.

When I got it, I had both my parents permission. Despite being over eighteen I called them both before my appointment (my Dad didn't actually believe I was going through with it, you should have seen his face that evening...) and double checked they wouldn't be disappointed. They reminded me it was my decision at the end of the day, but checked I had fully researched everything about getting one and was in the know.

Yes, having a tattoo in a potentially visible position can affect employability. But I have never planned on entering into the corporate world - and so far haven't struggled to find a job whilst being a student. We'll see.

Tattoo meanings
Right, here we enter into the realm of justification. A lot of people will say they don't like tattoos unless they have a specific meaning to the person in question. But at the end of the day, what difference does that actually make? It doesn't set you aside as a person, and given that tattoos are a conscious choice - you have to find an artist, choose a design and sit through the pain and aftercare - they're hardly whimsical (yes I know some people get drunken tattoos, but if we let drunk people provide the representations in our society we'd be screwed). When I get asked about my tattoo everyone asks if I regret it. You don't ask people that about a haircut or their choice of clothing, so why be so forward. If I regretted it, I would have it removed.

The design and location
Every tattoo is unique. It's impossible to copy exactly, but some artists get very close. My design, really, isn't the best, but I still like it. The placement, the back of my neck, draws the second predictable question - 'why do you have a tattoo if you can't see it?'. Just think about that. It's a fair question, but I'm one of those people who bore easily so seeing it every day would lead to me hating it. I'm happy that it's only every now and again that I see it - it would be weird if I had it anywhere else just to sit and stare at all day.

Tramp stamp. God, I hate those two words. I think it's so degrading of people to draw a negative connotation - regardless of the stereotype - about someones appearance. What right do you have? I know it's hardly up there with racism but you really can't judge people on how they look - even if they chose to look that way! Tattoos are very personal things. They're part of the body, and insulting one is like insulting someones leg. Don't.

Mis-representation
And then there are those who go a bit overboard. I watched a Channel 4 documentary recently on individuals who get tattoos which are at the end of a strange scale. The thing is, those people who were being featured (and at points in a patronising and cruel light) were happy with their decisions. And that's all you can ask for. If it was a show of people wallowing in self despair at having Miley Cyrus all over their torso, then yes, public outcry is justified. But you rarely meet someone with a tattoo who is ultimately depressed about it, and that's quite refreshing.

I think everyone needs to be a bit more open minded. As I've grown older I've learnt to accept people as they are and enjoy them. Look past things you don't agree with (like tattoos and piercings) and take them as one package. There needs to stop being such strong opinions about what other people do with their lives, as long as it doesn't hurt you then it's all good.

And no, it didn't feel like sunburn. Or ants walking over my skin. It felt like a very small needle was being stabbed into my skin and it hurt a little bit.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

/ my Dad's childhood

For the past three years we have made a summer pilgrimmage to the small town in which my Dad grew up.

The drive takes around an hour. Upon arrival in Houghton, we visit his parents grave in a beautiful little graveyard outside his childhood church. It's honestly lovely, very small, private and steeped in history.



Marie Mitchell, 8th June 1978, aged 50, In loving memory. Donald Walter Mitchell 1st November 1986.


The church is over 900 years old (well parts of it). That's really old.

the little peak hole to see through the pillars, you can't really see much but the idea is good...
Our little group then headed off to the nearby Romsey for lunch.

Very exciting.





We stopped at 'la Parisienne', and I had a light crab and avocado salad (of course with fries) followed by a cappuccino. My dad and sister had quite nice looking foods too, but the arrival of a wasp stopped my camera working. We're horrendously terrified.


You'd think our little expedition was over but we then nipped into Romsey World of Water to find a remedy for our green pond. My dad was fully aware that having left it to stagnate for well over a year can't have helped, but was still surprised when they all expressed shock at our lack of action. We are not pond people, people.

I'm going to get a japanese koi called pak choi. Don't ask why.


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Thursday, 15 August 2013

/ beauty / review / John Frieda / Frizz Ease / 3 day straight

Having been blessed with copious amounts of unruly hair, I am constantly seeking a hair-care product which will effectively and efficiently shorten my routine. Normally, it must be shampooed twice, conditioned and then have some kind of serum and heat protection applied. Dry time can be as long as half an hour - and that's before straightening. I then end up re-straightening, sometimes up to twice a day... Finding a product with claims such as the Frizz-ease 3 day straight semi-permanent styling spray definitely raised my hopes (a little).


The claims (as provided by both Boots and they themselves)
Designed to work with hair straighteners, a weightless spray with heat protection and frizz prevention. 
Seals in straight hair for up to 3 days
Keeps hair glossy, smooth and swinging with body
Safe for colour and chemically treated hair


The reality
Well. As I said, I have more hair on my head than anyone and was skeptical that such a small bottle of product could have a large impact. First time I used it I followed the instructions to the letter, due to fears of excessive application. Unfortunately my hair was straight for five hours before the waviness returned. 

Not willing to give up, my second attempt was more successful. But I did have to use twice the recommended amount. Thirty pumps - or something silly. Then straighteners. It worked for two days, and on the third only needed a little touching up, but this was a vast improvement. 

So a big thumbs up for the heat protection and frizz control.


And yes, there was glossiness and body still in my lovely straight hair but it was hardly 'swinging with body'. Having read some other reviews some people experienced stickiness or problems when straightening, but honestly this stuff has made life easier. I would spray it in straight after getting out of the shower and leave it to dry slightly before anything else... not sure if this helped? 


If you watched my video about empties you'll know I rave about the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny serum, and it's a close race between the two. I'll let you know when this one is empty too :).

x
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/ Nice / day 5, day 6, day 7 and day 8

These three days (plus the travel day) were more of the now established routine. Early wake up calls for those who were participating in the morning run, followed by a trip to the local croissant shop for some breakfast.

We'd then sit around in the sun all morning until the midday heat became unbearable - it doesn't take much here.

Afternoon activities were still limited to mountain climbing, visiting random places or sleeping.

Day 5- visited Grasse. Now this was a stressful adventure

My Dad felt it was appropriate that we had a 'cultural' expedition. So he picked a spot on the map and decided we would go there. Turns out, interestingly, Grasse is considered to be the perfume capital of the world and has a dedicated museum. Setting our sights on this elusive location, our driver (the father) decided to ignore all directions from the key navigator (moi) and got horrendously lost and angry. That's okay though, he calmed down once we assured him there would be a cuppa at the end of it all.


The museum was surprisingly interesting (annoyingly no photography allowed). My basic French vocab allows me to have a slight understanding of the written words so I gleamed some interesting facts. I wish our perfume bottles nowadays were as gorgeous as those in the 18th and 19th century.


Our little group was by this point quite hungry so went on a crepe hunt. Yummy. The weather still held up, hitting 34 degrees. Scorching.


Day 6 - mountain again. Because the first time was great

The boy and I, in the spirit of training for Spartan (yes that's still creeping closer) decided to speed walk back down and up the valley in 30 degree heat.



I enjoyed it even less without the adventure of almost falling off. But I'm still proud we completed it in an hour and half, equipped with super sensible shoes.


That evening we demolished dinner and and worked our way through the second of our anticipated melons. Cheekay.

this is the view from the not quite top window. I almost dropped my camera.

I accidentally left a window open that night, and coupled with leaving a light on we managed to accumulate a million moths and the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen. You could have probably ridden on it.

Day 7 - we went for a strange drive around the road and the market


The morning kicked off with the town's market. Having spent the week in a kind of ghost town we were shocked by the hustle and bustle. Above is pictured olive wood kitcheny bits - I have such a crush on it and would have happily bought the majority were my baggage allowance not quite so full.


France has such exciting food. I don't even know how tomatoes get like that. And yes, bottom right are eggs. 

If you walk a little past the market into the old town you will stumble upon the renowned place for viewing the valley. Windyyyy. 




Ahhh, lovely french things. Honey, flavoured with flowers from the valley (I think), sundried tomatoes and olives, and big bottles of olive oil (meant to be a local specialty). A little cheeky splurge. I cannot wait to try the honey.

After lunch we hopped in the car and went for an exploratory drive. My poor dad still cant drive the wrong way round car and really struggles with the windy roads. Hah. The air-con was such a relief, it hit 36 degrees or something silly.

We found a bridge over La Siagne (the one we walked down the mountain to find), and started driving up the other side.



On holiday with two other bloggers, what do you expect.


If you look at the below photo you can see our house. It's kind of hard for me to explain exactly which one, so you pick!


Day 8 -To the airport. what fun

For breakfast I treated myself to a Pain au Raisin - so so good, but so so naughty - and packed my bags by putting things in the others suitcases.

all that sugar. yum
One last picture of the valley before we had to say goodbye.


We left our hosts a message in their visitors book - looks like we weren't the only ones to have a good time! The picture was before my dad had left his scrawl, if you noticed the missing word...


We had to collar up for the journey home, but please, no ties. Let us not be ridiculous.

He couldn't wait to get back in a right hand drive.


My suitcase didn't fit in the boot so these kids got to snuggle with it the whole way back. That's over an hour.


Au revoir france -  you will be missed!

xxx

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